Transfiguration

I’m reading the mass readings for Lent at home. Todays mass reading in the gospels is from Mark 9:2-10 wherein Christ on the mountain in prayer became transfigured and was seen conversing with Moses and Elijah about the things that were to come.

Here we see that in prayer the Master talks with created beings, one who had already died. One who was translated without seeing death.

At a minimum then as protestants we must allow that it is ok to assume that we can pray with Moses and Elijah, and that either can appear to us or otherwise reveal themselves should it be the will of God. And that this does not in any way pose a theological problem. For if it does then we would be guilty of condemning even Christ and the apostles on the mountain.

Now some of us will say that Moses was not dead, he had been raised and therefore its different. We of course are those who come from sola scriptura. We are not told that Moses was raised only that his body was contended for. And that we are told only in Jude as the basis of an argument assumed to be already understood by his listeners. If we insist he was raised we do so on the basis of things outside the scripture.

In any case, as I understand, we also know that many with Christ were resurrected and ascended, spoken of in the Gospels or Acts and the captives that were led in his train.

And Hebrews then speaks of us coming to the spirits of just men made perfect, who are distinct from those of the Church on earth.

The Church teaches and scripture agrees with her. And as I see it there is no ground to contend with the Church on this point that does not in the end condemn Christ on the mount.

Thats how I see it right now. I’m sure many will disagree who are not in the Church and those in the Church may correctly point out where I am not squarely in line with the teaching.

Thanks!

Hi Lucias,
Deuteronomy 34:7 “Moses was one hundred and twenty years old when he died. His eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.”

Since Moses died, then his spirit had to be in either Limbo (bosom of Abraham, Luke 16:23) or prison (purgatory, 1 Peter 3:18-20) awaiting Jesus’ resurrection and ascension since no person’s body could have possibly ascended into heaven until after Jesus ascended into heaven after His own resurrection. So Moses’ spirit left “Limbo” in order for him to converse with Jesus and Elijah on the mountain.

John 3:13 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.”

John 20:17 "Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

Jesus conversed with the Spirit of Moses. Moses did not have his mortal body on the mountain when he was a part of the transfiguration. His body was still in his grave.

Private revelation: Mystic Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich states on page 33 of Vol. 1 of The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations:

“Henoch (Enoch), Noe’s ancestor, opposed that wicked race by his teachings. He wrote much. Henoch was a very good man and one very grateful to God. In many parts of the open fields, he raised altars of stone and there the fruits of the earth flourished. He gave thanks to God and offered sacrifice to Him. Chiefly in his family was religion preserved and handed down to Noe. Henoch was taken up to Paradise. There he waits at the entrance gate, whence another (Elias) he will come again before the last day.”

Many Catholic scholars believe that he, Elijah (Elias) is to be one of the two witnesses (with Enoch as the other witness) who are to be slain by the Antichrist. Enoch did not die yet either.

Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of Revelation, we read: “[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” Revelation 8:3-4

The Church has always taught that we can pray to saints and ask for their help. John sees that “the twenty-four elders [the leaders of the people of God in heaven] fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” Revelation 5:8 The saints in heaven offer to God the prayers of the saints on earth.

More on the intercession of angels and saints according to the early Church fathers at this link: catholic.com/library/Intercession_of_the_Saints.asp

SHW

Thank you for that information. I will look into it.

Have a great day.

Hi Lucias,

Many scholars believe that the reason that Jesus was transfigured with Moses and Elijah is because Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Him.

Luke 24:44 “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”

Matthew 5:18 “For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”

When Jesus was dying on the cross, He states: “It is finished.” The Old Testament Covenant is fulfilled/consummated by Jesus death, resurrection, and ascension.

Jesus has fulfilled the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Him. Every iota and tittle of the Old Covenant Law has been fulfilled by Jesus. His New Covenant has begun. The Kingdom of God has begun and it is within us.

Luke 17:21 "nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

John 6:56 “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.”

1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

The Kingdom of God in indeed within us!

Pax,
SHW

Some might find this to be of some interest but in the book Christian Prayer used for the Liturgy of the Hours the third antiphon sung at Saturday night prayer before the second Sunday of Lent reads: “Moses and Elijah were speaking to him of the death he would endure in Jerusalem.”

ChadS

First, let me clarify that I am Catholic and I not only believe in praying to the saints, I do so.

Having said that I would not depend heavily on this passage to prove the truth of this doctrine to a Protestant. Yes, Moses was definitely dead at the time but he was not in Heaven. Neither was Elijah. No one could enter Heaven until Jesus died, rose again and entered first. That had not yet happened at this point. They were with the other OT saints in what could be described as a temporary holding area. It’s not an important difference in my opinion but they are going to make the most out of any difference they can find.

Also, a Protestant could come back with the argument that, if it’s OK, why didn’t Peter, James and John talk to them? Only Jesus spoke with Moses and Elijah; the apostles only spoke with Jesus according to Mark 9:2-10. They could point out that, while Jesus was without sin so He clearly didn’t sin here, that doesn’t mean that we can do all that He could do. (For example, we cannot come back from the dead on our own like Jesus did.) They could also argue that it is only allowed to communicate with the saints if you are similarly transfigured.

Gary

Hi Gary,

I think that they didn’t talk to them at the transfiguration because they were only meant to “see” Jesus coming into His kingdom.

Matthew 16:28 "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

The preceding verse is immediately before the transfiguration verses. Also, they were afraid:

Mark 9:5-7 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— 6 because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. 7 And a cloud came and overshadowed them;"

I was always puzzled as to who raised Jesus from the dead. Here are the verses that I found:

Acts 5:30 “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”

Romans 6:4 “Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

Galatians 1:1 “Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead),”

Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”

John 5:21 “For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will.”

John 6:44 “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Protestants claim that we have to ask for everything in Jesus’ name because only Jesus can intercede for us, yet Jesus also taught us to pray directly to our heavenly Father.

Luke 11:2 "Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven…

Romans 8:14-16 “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God;”

We can go directly to our heavenly Father if we wish to. We can ask others to pray for us and we can intercede for others, too:

Acts 8:15 “who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:30 “Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me,”

Ephesians 1:15-17 “Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,”

1 Timothy 2:1-3 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,”

We can ask the angels and saints to pray for us:

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”

Revelation 8:4 “And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God from the angel’s hand.”

Pax,
SHW

Hello SHW;

Many scholars believe that the reason that Jesus was transfigured with Moses and Elijah is because Moses represents the Law and Elijah represents the Prophets. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Him.

Can the Gospel of the transfiguration be linked to the greatest commandments? Moses is said to represent the law and Elijah is said to represent the prophets. Does all the law and the prophets hang on Jesus, the central figure in the transfiguration?

Can the commandments have a greatest meaning for Jesus as both man and God?

Jesus loves God the Father with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength.
Jesus loves each and every one of us as he loves himself?

I appreciate the thoughtful and informative responses. I also appreciate the absence of the raging arguments so common on other threads.

Thanks!

Nothing is impossible for God, par excelence Jesus, how can God pray to God, some may say, Jesus becomes glorified in prayer, Peter wants to stay, what more is there, The bible teaches us that in Prayer we become one with God, not lip service, but heart felt prayer,forgetting oneself and only Loving the One who Loves US

So true!

Pax,
SHW

Yes, the fulfillment of the law and the prophets “hang” on Jesus and He fulfills them both, plus the psalms concerning Himself, by lovingly “hanging on the cross” until death for all of us.

I had never thought of:
“Can the commandments have a greatest meaning for Jesus as both man and God? Jesus loves God the Father with all of his heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus loves each and every one of us as he loves himself?”

I believe that you are correct. Jesus was obedient “even unto death” to His Father (Philippians 2:8) and He laid down His life for His friends (us) (John 15:13). There is no greater love/obedience than these two examples. (John 14:21, John 15:12)

Pax,
SHW

So based on the comments that “no one has ascended except he who descended” etc. Am I to understand that Catholic teaching is that Moses was not raised from the dead ?

The idea he was raised seems to be a handy way out of the challenge of explaining how Moses was at the Transfiguration, and yet died, without having to admit other things.

Is the idea that Moses was raised a wholly novel invention of the protestant reformation or did it have others who held to that theory among either the pre-Christian jews or among the heretics over the course of history before the 1500’s ?

Thanks!

I do not know what heretics believed or pre-Christian Jews. Perhaps someone else will be knowledgeable about these things.

Moses was not raised from the dead with a human body at the transfiguration since Jesus had to be raised first. Jesus was the first person to have a resurrected body.

Lazarus et al were raised from the dead but they went on to live and then die permanently later on.

Only Jesus can give us resurrected bodies and His had to be the first resurrected body because no one could be raised from the dead permanently until after He was raised. He conquered death for us and made it possible for us to inherit eternal life. No one could ascend into heaven until after He did. Jesus had to “unlock” the gate of heaven before anyone could get in since it was “locked” to all humans immediately after Adam sinned. (Luke 13:24)

However, there is debate as to what the following Scripture means:

Matthew 27:51-53 “Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many.”

I personally like to think that these saints’ bodies (along with their spirits) joined Jesus in heaven after His ascension.

Others believe that their bodies returned to their graves to await the resurrection of the dead when Jesus returns. No one knows for sure. Their spirits would of course be in heaven now awaiting the resurrection of the dead.

John 20:17 “Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’”

This revelation also means that the good thief on the cross was only “told” on “that day” that he would be with Jesus in Paradise and that he did not actually go to Paradise that day. (Commas and other grammatical notations were added to the Bible manuscripts much later in history by persons who perhaps sometimes guessed as to where they should be.) :slight_smile:

Luke 23:43 "And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Perhaps what was actually said by Jesus was “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.” All “peoples” have their own peculiar “expressions” in their spoken languages.

Where was Jesus between His death and resurrection from the dead?

1 Peter 3:18-20 “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.”

He was preaching to the souls in purgatory (prison) and also to the souls in the bosom of Abraham (limbo).

Luke 16:22-23 “So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”

Pax,
SHW

All we know about Moses is that he died (Deut 34:7) and that St. Michael the Archangel argued over his body (Jude 9). This leads me to speculate that, even though he could not have gone to Heaven, he may have been brought to Sheol (or Hades, see CCC 633) to await his redemption in some kind of bodily form. (This is pure speculation. I am not saying this is certain.) The same would also be true of Enoch (Gen 5:22-24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11).

You used the word “raised.” Have you ever heard someone say that Moses was raised from teh dead and then brought to Sheol? I’ve never heard that belief from anyone but I’ve also learned not to be surprised by what people believe. :slight_smile:

Gary

In all of my years of going to church I never heard anything being said about Moses going to Hades. Moses is an important prophetic teacher who led the Hebrew slaves from bondage and to the promised land.
Moses was never allowed to enter because he doubted that God would help him in his time of need. It never spoke of Moses being in Hades. Moses spirit was present at the transfiguration,as were Elijah’s spirit and Christ [bodily] and spirit also.

Christ was opening the gates of Heaven for both Elijah and Moses to enter into Gods Kingdom . Ask a preist to clarify what we may not be able to clarify for you.
Gods Blessings

                                          Mary  :cool:

I don’t think there is a particular Catholic teaching on the matter of whether or not Moses was raised from the dead. Haydock’s Catholic Bible commentary on the Transfiguration in Matthew 17:3 says:
All interpreters agree, that Elias appeared in his own body, but various are their opinions with regard to the apparition of Moses. (source)

So the teaching is people raised by the prophet ( the widows son ) the one who was raised when he touched elishas bones and the ones raised by Christ were all raised from the dead with mortal bodies but to be raised to heaven one will have immortal bodies ?

Yes I have heard that. I think that teaching exists, though not very prominent, in a number of circles.

At least one group of modern heretics has produced a Bible that says as much by changing what Jude says.

This passage is not about Moses being the center of attention,is it?. if it was then he would be glorified in Prayer to Our Father( Abba)

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