What was the status of Moses during the Transfiguration?


#1

There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

I know that Elijah was alive, but was Moses alive at this time-- or was this his spirit?

I’ve always wondered if the appearance of the two prophets, along with all other things associated with the Transfiguration, also symbolized Christ’s authority of both the living (symbolized by Elijah) and the dead (symbolized by Moses).

After all, according to Romans 14:9, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Just a thought.


#2

Since the Scripture passages don’t say, we really can’t know. After all, the men who viewed the Transfiguration were all Jews and all Apostles. If they thought it necessary to explain further, they would have, but apparently this was understood better within its proper context when it was related via the Gospels and orally when they were first shared with the believers in the 1st few centuries. Things that were generally understood weren’t explained any more than we go into details about things we all take for granted.

I’ve always wondered if the appearance of the two prophets, along with all other things associated with the Transfiguration, also symbolized Christ’s authority of both the living (symbolized by Elijah) and the dead (symbolized by Moses).

After all, according to Romans 14:9, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.

Just a thought.

That’s possible. It wouldn’t necessarily be the primary reason Moses and Elijah were chosen to appear with Jesus at his Transfiguration, but the symbolism of those two men would not have been lost on Peter, James, and John, nor on those who first heard of it or first read it in the Gospels.


#3

I don’t think it was Moses spirit that the apostles saw. Mainly because we find in Jude 1:9 that St. Michael the archangel fought Satan over Moses’ body. Now why would that be unless St. Michael was intending to take Moses’ body? Here’s the verse from the RSV-CE

[9] But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

BTW, does anyone know if the Church has said anything about this?


#4

The ‘Scriptures’, Jesus used to refer were not the Books of New Testament written by Paul and unknown authors, Thus none of the “New Testament” books are Scriptures.


#5

I’ve often wondered about this myself. Because it wasn’t until Christ died and descended to the dead that he liberated the righteous dead from the netherworld. So were Moses and Elijah not with those in the netherworld to be liberated but already in Heaven?

I’ve also heard that their appearance was to be symbolic of Christ being revealed by the Law and the Prophets, ie, Moses and Elijah. But no doubt what the symbolism, we are still to understand that they were actually present at this moment with Christ.

Good question!


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