Q. Sometimes I sit here reading articles from your site and I am mesmerized at the depth of insight you have in the Bible. Thank you for an awesome job of sharing the Word.
My question is about the transfiguration of Jesus and in particular about Peter seeing Moses and Elijah. I have a theological conflict with this event. Peter saw these men and recognized them to be Moses and Elijah, which means they had some kind of “body” at that time, yet this was before the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ, so how is this to be understood? Were Moses and Elijah released from Sheol/Paradise/Abraham’s bosom for a little while, given a recognizable body for a little while, then sent back to Sheol, then released again to be with the Lord after the crucifixion/resurrection?
A. As far as Moses and Elijah are concerned, it’s one of those mysteries we’ll probably never figure out until the Lord tells us directly. What we know about Moses is that he died and the Lord buried him. (Deut. 34:5-6) But there’s an interesting line in Jude about Michael contending with Satan for Moses’ body. (Jude 1:9) Did the Lord need it back for some reason?
As far as Elijah is concerned, he never did die but was taken live into Heaven. (2 Kings 2:11) John the Baptist ministered in the spirit and power of Elijah, (Luke 1:17) and was a fulfillment of Elijah’s prophesied return (Malachi 4:5 & Matt. 17:11-13) John died in Matt. 14 but Elijah was seen on the Mountain in Matt. 17. Peter, who probably could have recognized John, knew it wasn’t him but Elijah standing there with Moses.
I think the world will see these two again as the witnesses of Rev. 11 and again they’ll both die, in full view of the whole world this time, before being taken up to heaven once more.
What we know for sure is that being subject to death, they appear in something other than their resurrection bodies. My guess is that their spirits will again inhabit natural bodies, as Elijah apparently did with John, for their end times appearance, but that their time on the Mt. of Transfiguration was a spiritual manifestation especially orchestrated by God for the occasion. I believe God also gave Peter the supernatural ability to recognize them.
There’s a lot of speculation in this, but that’s the way I see it.