The Apocalypse and the Transfiguration

15 Jan

from Google Images

What could the Book of Revelation possibly have in common with Jesus’ Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36)? This is a question I had before I heard a preacher[1] speak of it, but I have to tell you, it makes a lot of sense. What the Transfiguration does for the Apocalypse is to place it in a context that demands that the book was written prior to the Jews’ war with Rome cir. 66-70 AD. The context of the Apocalypse is the Day of the Lord, or the Coming of Jesus.[2] The context of the Transfiguration is the Day of the Lord, or the Lord’s parousia (G3952), according to Peter (2Peter 1:16-18)! Interestingly, I’ve never put Revelation 1:1 together with Matthew 17:1-8 and 2Peter 1:16-18, but you can see how they all fit together. They all speak of the Second Coming and, therefore, the Day of the Lord.

So, how would seeing the relationship of these three scriptures tell us when the Apocalypse was written? First let’s look at Peter’s confession. Peter tells his readers that he had made known to them the coming (parousia – G3952) of the Lord Jesus, saying that he and the other Apostles were “eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2Peter 1:16). In saying this he pointed to the time he heard the voice of God from heaven, while they were there on the holy mountain (2Peter 2:17-18). Obviously, Peter was referring to the Lord’s Transfiguration on the mountain that we read about in Matthew 17:1-8. So, according to Peter, when they saw Jesus shinning brighter than the sun, they were seeing the glorified Jesus at his parousia (coming – G3952).

Matthew’s narrative tells us that Jesus was transfigured before three of his Apostles, Peter, James and John (Matthew 17:1-2). At the same time they saw Moses and Elijah (signifying the Law and the Prophets) appear with Jesus. Not knowing what he was saying, Peter wanted to build three tabernacles, one for Jesus and the other two for Moses and Elijah (Matthew 17:3-4), but, while he yet spoke, they all heard the Father speak out of heaven, saying “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him (Matthew 17:5). What is meant here is that they needed to hear Jesus, thus, indicating Christ is superior to the Law and the Prophets, and when the disciples looked up, Moses and Elijah had faded away, and Jesus was alone.

What happened? What did the vision mean? Peter tells us that the Transfiguration of Jesus was a vision of his Second Coming (his parousia – G3952) on the Day of the Lord (2Peter 1:16-18), and in this vision of the Day of the Lord, i.e. the Second Coming of Jesus, the Law and the Prophets fade away. In other words, the Old Covenant comes to an abrupt end at Jesus’ parousia. If the Old Covenant is no longer a valid contract between God and man, when did that covenant come to an end? It certainly couldn’t have ended at the cross, because it ends at the parousia of Jesus, according to Peter. The Old Covenant came to an end when the Temple was destroyed. With no Temple, the priests had no function. With no sacrifices, there was no valid covenant between the Jews and God. It was over! It all came to an end cir. 70 AD.

So, what does this mean as far as Revelation 1:1 is concerned and the rest of the Apocalypse? As I claimed in my previous study, the Greek word apokalupsis (G602) appears only once in the Apocalypse and that at Revelation 1:1. The problem is there really is no new revelation of Jesus in the book. It makes better sense to translate the word in Revelation 1:1 into coming or appearing as it is done in 1Corinthians 1:7 and 1Peter 1:7. The Apocalypse is all about Christ’s Coming or Appearing. It is about the Day of the Lord, just like the Transfiguration. So, if Moses and Elijah—i.e. the Law and the Prophets—fade away at the parousia of Jesus (his Second Coming on the Day of the Lord), then the Apocalypse must have been written prior to the Jews’ war with Rome, cir. 66-70 AD, because that is when the Old Covenant ended!


[1] See Don K. Preston’s You Tube video “The Dating of Revelation” number 3

[2] See my study The Coming of Jesus the Messiah.


Posted by on January 15, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation


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4 responses to “The Apocalypse and the Transfiguration

  1. librarygeek

    April 23, 2019 at 13:35

    Interesting comparison. I am a little less sure than you that Peter meant the Second coming or day of the Lord as he says neither outright. One can certainly interpret it that way. In fact all the other times the Greek word Parousia was used in reference to Jesus, they were writing of a future coming. However, when used of other people like Paul, it could mean a past tense arrival somewhere and Peter is referring to something in the past:

    Here’s v.16 “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.”

    All the gospels are about the coming of Jesus, so Peter could mean all the stories of the gospels, not just prophecy of the future.

    On a side note, I reread the whole chapter and saw in v 19 some veiled symbols that Peter expected his readers to understand concerning the prophecy. Any thoughts on what dawn and morning Star refer to?

    “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”

  2. Eddie

    April 24, 2019 at 07:20

    Greetings Shari and thank you for your interest in my studies. Lord bless you.

    “All the gospels are about the coming of Jesus, so Peter could mean all the stories of the gospels, not just prophecy of the future.”

    The Greek word parousia (G3952) is used of Jesus in the Gospels only in Matthew 24 and always in answer to the Apostles’ question: “What will be the sign of your parousia?” (Matthew 24:3; see 24:27, 37, 39). Therefore, we can be fairly confident that, when Peter speaks of the parousia, it is in the context of Matthew 24:3 – “What will be the sign of your coming?” To conclude he is referring to ‘all the stories of the gospels’ would have no precedent and would be reading one’s interpretation into the text, rather than letting the text say what it means (cp. John 10:35). As it pertains to Peter in this study, The Apocalypse and the Transfiguration, indeed, he is speaking of a past event (the Transfiguration; 2Peter 1:16), but that event in the past, itself, points to a future event, namely the glorified Christ, as one might expect him to appear at his parousia.

    I don’t know how deeply you wish to get into this, but I have several studies on what Peter claimed about the parousia (G3952). In the current study, The Apocalypse and the Transfiguration, the parousia is referred to in 2Peter 1:16, but I also have a study on this Scripture from a slightly different perspective: The Gospel and Myths. Besides 2Peter 1:16, however, the word is also used in 2Peter 3:4 & 12. The studies concerning these Scriptures that might shed light upon the parousia are: Why Would Scoffers Ridicule Peter (2Peter 3:4) and The Heavens Being on Fire? and Elements Melt With Fervent Heat (2Peter 3:12). The last two shed light upon the consequence of the of coming of Jesus, not Jesus’ coming per se, but you cannot have the judgment without his coming (parousia).

    Concerning the dawn and the morning star, see my study: Prophecy Made More Certain.

    Concerning Paul’s use of the word, it refers to the past only in 1Corinthians 16:17 and 2Corinthians 7:6. However, whenever he uses it to refer to the Lord (1Corinthians 15:23; 1Thessalonians 2:19; 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; 2Thessalonians 2:1, 8-9) it is always in the context of a future event, as is also James’ use of the word in James 5:7-8 and John’s in 1John 2:28. If we are true to John 10:35, we must read parousia (in the context of Jesus’ parousia) as an event in the Apostles’ future, whenever they use the term in the New Covenant Scriptures with reference to the Lord.

  3. Douglas Gordon

    October 17, 2019 at 13:42

    Jesus said “I am come” (present). He came and all was fulfilled (inauguration of the day/age); that was the gospel.”I will come again” in the 4th gospel meant in the form of the other comforter that would unite the Father, Jesus, and the disciples in the present as in the prayer of chapter 17. (rising in hearts). “Lo I am with you always, even to the end of the (inaugurated age, the day of the Lord). The New Jerusalem is here presently. The kings are entering it presently. The royal priesthood of Revelation 1 has been given access to the throne in heaven as in Revelation 7. Chapter 19 is the whole parousia (spiritually in the present). All was fulfilled (no more need for futuristic interpretation of prophecy). Hope belongs in following in the way, now.

  4. Eddie

    October 18, 2019 at 06:38

    Greetings Douglas and welcome. Thank you for reading and for your comment. Lord bless you.

    We agree that all things have been fulfilled and there isn’t a need of a future coming of the Lord as far as prophecy is concerned. Nevertheless, we arrive at this conclusion in different ways as my later studies describe.

    Thanks again for your interest in my studies.

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