From the Parable of the Tares to the Transfiguration
Parable of the TaresEdit
Matthew 13:24-30; 36-43
24 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29 But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37 He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40 As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41 The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42 And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.
This is an often misunderstood and adamantly misapplied passage of scripture. Many many people, in denominations and within the church of Christ teach that this is about the end of the kosmos. They read only the surface and they see the KJV translation of aionos as “world” and just go with it. There are so many clues and references in this parable to other teachings of Jesus that it almost requires extraordinary effort to get this wrong once it has been explained correctly.
First of all there are many parallels and references to what John writes in the book of Revelation and Jesus Olivet Discourse. The angels (messengers) coming is a repeated theme in the New Testament. Let’s break it down then:
- 1. The field is the world (kosmos).
- 2. The good seed (relating to the parable of the sower) are the Christians that would come from the Apostles preaching and the preaching of the first generation of Christians. They are parallel to the children of the woman in Revelation 12.
- 3. The tares are called “children of the wicked one” (Eph. 5:6; Col. 3:6; 1 John 3:10). Also Christians (allowed to grow up with the good seed), but these were corrupted by the Judiazing influences and persecution by the Jews. This would be folks like the Nicolaitains (called also Baalam and Jezebel in Revelation 2).
- 5. The harvest is the last days when the current disciples (Apostles and others) would begin preaching the Resurrection of Christ and the work of establishing the church after its founding. Jesus references the harvest again in Matt. 9:37.
- 6. The reaper angels are the first generation Christians including the Apostles who have worked so hard to preach the gospel and convert others to Christ. Their “coming” with Christ is a reference to the results of their labor beyond the end of the Jewish system. (Matt. 16:27; 25:31; Mark 8:38-9:1; Luke 9:26; Heb. 12:22; Rev. 2-3; 12).
At the end of the Jewish age when Jerusalem was destroyed and the number one persecutor of the church, the Jewish system, was ended, those who were not faithful would suffer the same fate as the Jewish system…judgment and destruction. Those who remained faithful through the last days and came through the other side of the persecution would “shine forth” to the world. They would be a beacon of light and hope spread across the whole world for the rest of time. This shining forth would be as the sun in that Christ is the Sun and Christians are reflections of Him being conformed to Him. This portion parallels Revelation 19-21.
The phrase “he that hath ears let him hear” is popular in Revelation and it means here as it does there that what Jesus is saying needs to be understood on more than just a cursory, surface level.
Parable of the Mustard Seed Edit
31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
30 And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? 31 It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: 32 But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it. 33 And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. 34 But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
The main reason to include this parable is the concept of fowls lodging in the branches of the great tree. The mustard seed is the small group with which Jesus began the church, but the great tree it grows to become is the church widespread throughout space and time. Of connection to the apocalyptic language are the fowls. The birds are those who are not Christians, specifically Gentile nations, who are nonetheless affected by the spread of Christianity. Ezekiel was especially fond of this analogy (Ezk. 17:23; 31:6-13). Daniel also uses this metaphor for the kingdom of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:12). The metaphor of fowls (as Gentiles) is also found in Revelation 19:17, 21.
Parable of the Net Edit
47 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 48 Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 49 So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 50 And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 51 Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.
Very similar to the parable of the tares, Jesus tells a parable relating to a fishing net. Those who are fishing are again the Apostles and first generation Christians that established the church through their efforts (the fishing with the net). The sorting of the good fish and bad fish happened during the Jewish Wars from 67-73AD. Images of wailing, gnashing of teeth, and fire all reference other passages relating to the destruction of the Jewish system. (Matt. 8:12; 13:42; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28; Rev. 20).
The Twelve CommissionedEdit
This section is long and has a number of different points to be made. I will break it down by point.
The Lord of HarvestEdit
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
In this section, Jesus uses the same metpahor of the harvest that he later uses in Matthew 13. He speaks of the harvest as if it is upon them. Similar phrases of the imminence of the time are “at hand”, “near”, “soon”, and so on. To prepare for this harvest, Jesus next appoints 12 men, 11 of whom will become Apostles.
The Limited ComissionEdit
1 And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease. 2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4 Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.'5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. 12 And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
7 And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits; 8 And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: 9 But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. 10 And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. 11 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. 12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent. 13 And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.
It is important to note that in this context, Jesus is specifically talking only of the Jewish cities. He commands the 12 not to go into the way of the Gentiles or the cities of the Samaritans. What they are to preach is that the kingdom of heaven (the church) is at hand, it is imminent. These men then begin to perform the miracles as Joel 2 prophesied about indicating that they were in the last days already (which began with John the Immerser and ended with the writing of the last book of the Bible). When their message was not received by the Jewish people, Jesus compares (as does Isaiah – Isa. 1:2,10) them to Sodom and Gomorrha. We see this comparison throughout scripture including Revelation 11:8 which refers to Jerusalem metaphorically as Sodom and Egypt. The day of judgment here is not the end of the kosmos, it is the coming judgment against the Jews. That is the context of this limited comission which was to the Jews only.
The Apostles Would be Persecuted by the JewsEdit
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; 18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. 19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. 21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. 22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. 23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? 26 Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. 27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. 28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. 32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. 34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. 39 He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. 40 He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. 41 He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. 42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Again I insist that this is a specific context. Too many people leap to modern application, to drawing applications for our time first before fully understanding the text in the time it was written and in so doing lose the majority of the meaning.
Jesus tells the 12 that because of their teaching, people would “scourge them in the synagogues”. This is Jewish persecution which has not taken place since the fall of Jerusalem. In this context, Jesus speaks of what will happen to the Jewish people. There will be strife within families (as some Jews obey the gospel and become Christians and some don’t), there will be war (Jewish Wars).
Specifically we see the phrase about enduring to the end here. What can that possibly mean in any long frame of time (hundreds of years). He is talking about those 12 men enduring to the end. This phrase is parallel to Rev. 1:10. The end would be when Jesus returned. He references this also when He says, “Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.” They did not have enough time because the coming of the Son of man was imminent. (And this cannot be referring to Jesus’ coming in the flesh because He is already there speaking to them!)
Traditions of the Pharisees Prophesied by IsaiahEdit
1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. 14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch. 15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable. 16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? 17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
1 Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2 And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3 For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4 And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brazen vessels, and of tables. 5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. 14 And when he had called all the people unto him, he said unto them, Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. 16 If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 17 And when he was entered into the house from the people, his disciples asked him concerning the parable. 18 And he saith unto them, Are ye so without understanding also? Do ye not perceive, that whatsoever thing from without entereth into the man, it cannot defile him; 19 Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught, purging all meats? 20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
These are definitely long texts and the part I wanted to focus on was the prophecy of Isaiah that Jesus quotes. All of the things Jesus speaks of in the surrounding text relates directly to what the Pharisees and the unheeding Jews of that day were guilty of. The details, which too many draw personal application from first, must first be understood in the context of the disbelieving Jews. Isaiah gave this prophecy in the midst of Isaiah 29, which directly refers to the time when the Jews would be done away with and the church would rise.
Also note that Jesus speaks of them worshipping Him in vain in fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, once again proving that He claimed to be God.
The Death, Resurrection, and Return of Christ With His MessengersEdit
21 From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. 28 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.
31 And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 33 But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men. 34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 35 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. 36 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 37 Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.
22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. 23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. 24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. 25 For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? 26 For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. 27 But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God.
First, with regard to Peter being called Satan, I wanted to point out that the word “Satan” means “the Adversary” (which most people reading this should know). Peter is called the Adversary because he spoke things that were not of God but were the things of men. This is an echo of Matthew 15:9. Directly it relates to the idea of the Jews attempting to hinder the Messiah because Jesus did not fit their idea of Messiah. Peter had this same issue and it stayed with him for much of his life. The pull of Judaism was powerful. Yet also we have continual references to the Jews as the Adversary and offspring of Satan/the Devil because of their efforts at persecuting the followers of Christ.
As for the coming of the Son of man with His holy messengers, this phrase requires abject rejection of scripture to misunderstand. Jesus explains that He would indeed return in His own glory, and in HIs Father's, and of the holy messengers. This phrase is used to speak of Christ coming in judgment against the Jewish state (Matt. 24:30-31; Matt. 25:31; Revelation 12).
As a separate but related thought, Jesus then tells them that some of them that He was speaking to at that moment would live to see the arival of the kingdom (the church) with power. This power is the gospel (Romans 1:16). The scriptures clearly teach the kingdom of Christ is the church and that it came - with power - on the day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:
- Matthew 16:18-19 - And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
- Acts 1:6-8 - When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
- Acts 2 - Just read the whole chapter.
Jesus' point to these men, these Jewish leaders, is clearly that they should become part of the kingdom when it comes or face destruction. We see this in the phrase "ashamed of me and my words". It is Jesus telling them they had one final chance to repent or face God's wrath (Acts 2:40).
1 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2 And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3 And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4 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. 5 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. 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7 And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8 And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. 9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. 10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Immerser.
2And 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. 3And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 4And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 5And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 6For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 7And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 8And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 9And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead. 10And they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean. 11And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
28And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. 29And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. 30And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: 31Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. 32But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. 34While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. 35And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 36And when the voice was past, Jesus was found alone. And they kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen.
This event’s connection to the apocalyptic is a bit more difficult to grasp, but it is important enough to address it. Jesus is joined by Moses (representing the Law) and Elijah (representing the prophets) on the mount. These are the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11 (the law and the prophets) whom the Jews ignored and ripped apart with their man-made doctrines. When the transfiguration ends, the Father says to hear Christ and Moses and Elijah are gone leaving only Christ. The parallel is that in the end of the last days, Judaism will be taken out of the way and only Christianity will remain.
Christ even furthers this idea of the connection to the last days by explaining that Elijah (Elias) was already come in the form of John the Immerser heralding the beginning of the last days.
In Truth and Love,