MOUNTAIN OF TRANSFIGURATION
By Dan Luehrs
"For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds" (Matthew 16:27 NASB).
"And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light" (Matthew 17:2).
Jesus foretold His disciples that He was going to come in glory, but they could not comprehend what that meant. So six days later Jesus takes three of them up to a high mountain and is transfigured right before their very eyes. Peter, James, and John was in for a reality check. The Father was going to reveal His Son to them this day in all His glory. His body was changed from a natural human being into a supernatural being still while He had a physical body. His face shone like the sun and His clothing was like lightning.
I believe that something more was going on here than Jesus showing off His glory. The disciples were being given a crash course teaching on the glory that was to come. Jesus taught them that this would happen to them in Matthew 13:43, "Then THE RIGHTEOUS WILL SHINE FORTH AS THE SUN in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear." In fact, Peter never forgot about this and spoke of this experience even until his death to remind us of it, "Until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts" (2 Peter 1:19 NASB). Peter understood from this experience that there was a day coming that would change these vile bodies of sin into the brightness and glory of the Son of God. Hallelujah!
According to Paul's writing in 2 Thessalonians 1:10, Jesus' glorious presence is going to be manifested in and through His saints on the day of His coming. "When He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed for our testimony to you was believed."
"When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory" (Colossians 3:4 NASB).
THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION
"And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light" (Matthew 17:1-2 NASB).
The Lord has been speaking much to me about our transformation, "transformation" means, to be "changed, transfigured, transformed, and metamorphosized." For months the Lord had been speaking to me about this. One day I was driving through a small town in Minnesota and an old historic church caught my attention. It was called The Church of the Transfiguration! I have never heard of a church being called this, but I liked it! For this is the message of the hour, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (discern) what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable (pleasing) and perfect (mature)" (Romans 12:2 NASB). It is the Lord's will that we be bodily transformed. But it must first start in our mind being conformed to the ways and will of God.
In order for Jesus to be transfigured He had to go up to a high mountain and be separated from the religious crowd; this high mountain is called The Mount of Transfiguration. If we desire this bodily transformation we too must go up to a high mountain and be separated from the religious crowds that do not want to be totally changed at this time. Even though Jesus climbed a natural mountain, we are called to climb Mount Zion with a few friends that are hungry. Mount Zion is a spiritual mountain, and we too must climb it so that we can be changed!
Jesus probably climbed Mount Hermon, which is the highest mountain in the northern part of Israel. The scriptures tell us that Jesus was in Caesarea Philippi when He was transfigured. Mount Hermon was in the district of Caesarea Philippi, "Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi…" (Matthew 16:13 NASB). The name "Hermon" means, "devoted or consecrated one." What mountain climber is not devoted to his call? If a person climbing Mount Everest loses his devotion to the call of climbing to the summit, he will certainly fail! In other words, we must be devoted and consecrated to God in our high calling if we want to ascend this Mount Zion. It will not be easy, but it will be worth it!
Mountains were spoken of several times in the life of Jesus. Jesus met with His disciples on a mountain before He ascended to heaven. "But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated" (Matthew 28:16 NASB). And again we find Jesus on Mount Zion in the book of Revelation 14:1, "And I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads." These are the overcomers that have climbed Mount Zion and reached the top where Jesus is, and were then changed into His likeness and glory. Mount Hermon is a spiritual type of Mount Zion, "… mount Sion, which is Hermon" (Deuteronomy 4:48 KJV). (Note: Sion is the King James Version spelling of Zion in some places).
The Bible has much to say about Mount Hermon, but few of us understand the prophetic significance of it in regards to our bodily transformation. Psalms 133 speaks about this mountain as with reference to Mount Zion, "… Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." God commanded life forevermore from this place, and that is exactly what will happen to our bodies when we reach this place of having a transformed body with His likeness and glory. God's Spirit on this mountaintop will give life eternal unto our mortal bodies. "That the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh" (2 Corinthians 4:11 NASB).
Mount Hermon is the source of water for the Jordan River. This river is symbolic of death to self as in water baptism. "Jordan" means, "to go down or humble ones self before God." But its green waters are also symbolic of life. Naaman was healed in these waters at the prophetic word of the Lord. Jesus was baptized in the Holy Spirit at this river. The Jordan River illustrates the reversal of sin and death and our return unto God; we go from the valley of death onto the heights of the mountain of transformation! This is what our climbing Mount Zion is all about. As we climb one step at a time, we are being changed into the likeness of Jesus until we reach the top for our ultimate bodily change. After we have reached the top and have been changed, Jesus will bring us down from its heights to a hurting world below, bringing His love and restoration. "Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon. Descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon, from the lions' dens and the mountain haunts of the leopards" (Song of Songs 4:8 NIV).
"... Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city (the church) of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city (the church) of the great King (Jesus)" (Psalms 48:1-2 KJV).
Mount Hermon was at the furthest point north of Israel's kingdom that God had promised to give Israel. Today it is called the Golan Heights that Israel and Syria are still warring over to this day. Giants inhabited the land when Joshua took it from the enemy, and spiritually speaking, they still do! (See Josh. 12:1-5). Our last enemy to be destroyed is death. This has been a great giant for the church to overcome, the only person who has physically overcome death is Jesus. But this has been promised to us if we will apprehend it! God had promised Israel all of Mount Herman and not just a part of it (see Josh. 13.11). In other words, we can be fully transfigured while we are on this earth because God said so! But we must have the audacity of Caleb when he said to Joshua, "Give me this mountain!" Our cry to God must be, "give me this Mountain of Transfiguration!" But in order to do this we must become like Caleb. His name means, "faithful" and we must serve God FAITHFULLY and FULLY as he did! (See Josh. 14:8, 12). Caleb did not look at the impossibilities of taking this mountain but saw that God was faithful to His promises. Caleb knew that God would help him take it. Certainly if we can see this Mount of Transfiguration as Caleb did we should do everything we can to get to the top of it and be changed! Moses said about Caleb, "… He will see it, and I will give him and his descendants the land he set his feet on, because he followed the LORD wholeheartedly" (Deuteronomy 1:36 NIV). This mountain is our God-given inheritance if we will just trust Him for it and have the faith and just like courage to take it! Oh yes, there will be those around us that will say we are crazy to believe for total transfiguration, the ten spies thought Joshua and Caleb were nuts for believing that they could take the promised land with God's help! But look what happened!
Jesus said that the day of His coming would be the same as in the days of Lot. What advice was Lot given? He was told to, "Escape to the mountains!" "And it came about when they had brought them outside, that one said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, and do not stay anywhere in the valley; escape to the mountains, lest you be swept away" (Genesis 19:17 NASB). And we too must escape to the top of spiritual Mount Zion if we are going to make it through what is ahead. We do this by seeking God daily and growing in truth as we obey His word and by living above all depression, worry, and fear. God wants us to live lives of righteousness, peace, and joy in our heart. This is true faith!
"On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine-- the best of meats and the finest of wines. On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples (the flesh), the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. In that day they will say, "Surely this is our God; we trusted in him, and he saved us. This is the LORD, we trusted in him; let us rejoice and be glad in his salvation." The hand of the LORD will rest on this mountain; but Moab will be trampled under him as straw is trampled down in the manure" (Isaiah 25:6-10 NASB).
"… But he who takes refuge in Me shall inherit the land, and shall possess My holy mountain" (Isaiah 57:13 NASB).
Paul Mueller had a vision some years ago that I think will shed some light on what I am trying to say here. "More than thirty years ago, the Lord gave me a vision of a mountain in the Spirit. Some of my dearest friends and loved ones had gone on to be with the Lord, and some of them spoke to me during that vision. I saw those departed friends and loved ones as if they had been climbing a spiritual mountain during their journey in this life. The "shells" of the bodies of those departed saints were scattered all over that mountain to show their spiritual growth, which they attained during this life. Some had attained to higher spiritual levels on that mountain than others, but none of them were satisfied with their spiritual growth during their experiences here on earth. As the vision progressed, the departed friends and loved ones I had known started calling out to me. Without exception, every one of them called out to me, saying, "Go higher, Paul, keep...going higher and higher." There was some sorrow and regret in their voices, for they hoped they would have grown spiritually to higher realms in God than they had achieved during their earthly journey throughout this "life." For some reason, the Lord wanted me to know that the life we live in this world has some important spiritual connection with the Life that is to come. What we do spiritually while in this earthly realm determines our spiritual attainment at the moment of our death. This is not to say that we cease growing spiritually when we leave this "life," but our spiritual growth in this life is very important. As far as I am concerned, I have heard His voice calling me home. And I must continue growing in the Spirit, by taking one step at a time. I have no interest in the passing and temporal things of this world. There is a cause to repent, and a Kingdom to inherit. All this is before us! It is our inheritance! And that inheritance will be given to those who will climb this last "mountain," to become the true overcomers in the kingdom of their Father." (End of quote).
TRANSFIGURED BY FAITH
When God took Enoch from the natural earth realm he was translated to the spirit realm. It was not because God loved Enoch more than He did others, it was because Enoch walked with God; he lived to please the heart of God. I believe he became like God in the process of this walk with God so God was obligated to translate him. The word "translate" means, "to transfer to another place." Enoch came to full maturity in God and overcame death because God translated him." When a seed has grown and become fully matured it must be harvested. This is what happened to Enoch! "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5 KJV).
I believed Enoch pleased the heart of God by having faith in Him and by dying to his self-life daily. He grew into God's likeness and did not have to die a physical death. Neither do we, if we will follow his pattern! Notice how he was translated, "By faith Enoch was translated!" His faith pleased God; in fact, his name means "dedicated one or full of faith, the same meaning as Caleb and Mount Hermon!" "And without faith it is impossible to please Him…" (Hebrews 11:6 NASB). Enoch had an unwavering faith in God. No matter what happened to him, he always trusted God and was at rest and peace in God's love. "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable (is pleasing) to God and approved by men. (Romans 14:17-18 NASB). When we are walking in righteousness we will have peace; and when we have peace, we will have joy in the Holy Spirit. This type of faith pleases the heart of God and keeps us on the path of life.
Enoch is a testimony to our generation that we also can be translated by faith, even as we have been saved by faith and filled with His Holy Spirit by faith. We too can be translated into the spirit realm by growing in the spirit as Jesus and Enoch did. This is the Feast of Tabernacles fulfilled in us! We must desire this and have a deep, passionate love for Jesus as our bridegroom above all the other things of the earth. We must seek Him with our whole heart for this to be fulfilled in us. In fact, the Bible never says we cannot have what Enoch had, for all things are possible with God! Jesus made us a promised in Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. "For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened." In the Greek this means we are to continually seek after that which we desire. What greater thing can there be in all of God's creation than to be one in Spirit with Jesus?
For some time now I have had a recurring vision of an atomic flash coming forth from my inner-most being and my flesh and blood being changed into pure light/life. Our bodily resurrection will come out of our spirit being where Jesus is enthroned and will swallow up our earthly bodies into the likeness of His glorious body, which is a spiritual body, not a physical one (see 1 Cor. 15:44). "For while we are in this tent (body), we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed (without a body) but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life" (2 Corinthians 5:4 NIV). This earthly body must be changed because flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; but a spirit body can! In an atomic flash from our spirit man Jesus will be revealed through us and our body will be changed into the likeness of His glorious body. The literal likeness of Jesus is inside of us and He will be manifested in our outer bodies for all to see.
"I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye (an atomic moment), at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:50-54 NIV).
Jesus' life within us is growing to full maturity as a pea grows within a pod. When the pod can no longer encase the seed within because of its growth, the pod will have no choice but to release the mature seed. Our body is this pod and Jesus is the seed within us that is growing to fullness like never before, because God is giving us great grace right now for us to grow by the revelation of His word and Spirit. The most important thing we can be doing right now is to feed the Jesus-life within us with His revealed truths and the presence of His Holy Spirit.
The law of the Spirit of life in Christ will swallow up and change the death of our mortal bodies into the likeness of His life and power. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death" (Romans 8:2 NASB). Sin is death and death is sin. When we are set free from this sinful nature, our bodies of death will have no choice but to change! I call it "the point of critical mass." In other words, at some point a change must occur because His life in us is greater than the body of death that we now live in (see 1 John 4:4). "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing…" (John 6:63 NIV). Even as in a nuclear bomb, the atoms must split and be changed into great power, so our bodies must also be changed. As the Spirit and flesh now war with one another, they are soon to become one, with no more divisions. Something must change, and it will be our body of death. The old Adam/atom will be changed by His surpassing great power. I think it is rather prophetic that Adam and atom sound almost alike, and it's not by chance! God is speaking to us about the great power that He is going to release though His sons to change the world from the power of sin unto righteousness. Even though we are small in stature to the world and the universe's size, great power is about to be released from the sons of God that will change creation itself. "That the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children (sons) of God" (Romans 8:21 NASB). The combination of spiritual maturity, wisdom, and humility in His sons is the formula for the spiritual critical mass to release a spiritual nuclear explosion of unprecedented power!