Understanding the incredible power of Jesus and the foundational structure of the church leads to a greater understanding of the solidity that we have as Apostolic Christians. Since the powers of hell CANNOT prevail against Jesus (having already tried) we then have a sure foundation which cannot be shaken or moved. If Jesus is the center of our life and the basis for everything that we do then we CANNOT fail! I am not taking away from the human nature which is apt to stumble and fall but never should we focus so much on this that it becomes our excuse to fall.
It is this very Peter, having declared the revelation of who Jesus the Christ was, that voiced the desire to make three tabernacles as Jesus stood in the midst of Moses and Elijah. Jesus was simultaneously placed on the same pedestal of recognition as Elijah and Moses which in that day among the Jews would have been quite an honor. Moses was their lawgiver and Elijah had a reserved place at the head of their dinner tables. These were two of the most recognized men in the history of their nation. Peter however failed to understand what stood before him. Why did Jesus have this account happen? What purpose did this serve?
Luke 9:28-35 (KJV)
28 And 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.
29 And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering.
30 And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias:
31 Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
32 But 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.
33 And 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.
34 While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud.
35 And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him.
To the standard reader that casually peruses this portion of scripture we fail to understand the incredible implication of what is being presented. Standing there with Jesus is Elijah and Moses. Moses is the figurehead of the Law while Elijah is a figurehead of the prophets. What are they talking about with Jesus? They are discussing the things which must be done in Jerusalem, i.e. the death of Jesus the Christ. Did not Jesus come to fulfill the law? Was not the law a schoolmaster which was to lead to Christ? Standing there was the fulfillment of what the law and the prophets pointed towards.
Peter failed to recognize this vital encounter which he was privileged to see. And yet scripture tells us that “while he yet spake there came a cloud” that overshadowed them. I have often wondered at this shift in scripture. Standing before Peter, James and John was the “fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Moses had desired to see the glory of God and yet God told Moses that he could only see Him in part.
Hiding in the cleft of the rock, the glory passed before Moses and God removed His hand from Moses to allow him to see just the tail end of God as He passed. Suddenly though the world is confronted with the fullness of God in bodily form. When we saw Jesus we beheld the GLORY as of the only begotten of the Father. Peter and those of the present time saw before them what Moses had YEARNED to see which he only saw in part.
Why then the cloud and the voice? It almost seems as though God decides to revert back to an Old Testament presentation of the glory of God. In ancient days prior to God manifest in the flesh it was always through the thickness of a cloud or darkness that God revealed Himself. In the smoke and the cloud above the mercy seat. In pavilions of darkness one account presents. And so it seems that when Peter failed to recognize the identity of God manifest in the flesh, surrounded by the icon of the Law and the icon of the Prophets it was back to a cloud and a voice that God had to declare Himself once again. “This is my beloved Son: hear Him.”
Just as the dove was for John the Baptist while the voice of God spoke the words “this is my beloved Son” so now it seems the cloud was for the disciples. It is amazing in scripture how too often we either request that we see not the manifestations of God as the children of Israel requested of Moses or when He stands before us in all His fullness we cannot even recognize Who and What He is!
Later, upon receiving the Holy Ghost and fulfilling the charge which had been given him, Peter alludes to this account in his epistle bearing his name:
2 Peter 1:16-18 (KJV) 16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Why did Jesus ensure that this encounter would happen with His three closest of disciples? Why the theatrical encounter of Moses and Elijah and then the cloud and the voice? The answer to this I believe is found when the cloud dissipates and scripture tells us that they saw Jesus “alone.” Something about this voice, the cloud, and the fact that Jesus was alone did something to the three disciples present which they would speak to no one about. Let us look briefly back at the scriptures leading up to this powerful encounter.
Luke 9:18-22 (KJV) 18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God. 21 And he straitly charged them, and commanded them to tell no man that thing; 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.
We must remember that when taking all the accounts presented in the Synoptic Gospels that it is during this time of revelation which Peter has of who the Christ is that it is also the same time which Jesus alludes to the death in Jerusalem. Following the great promise and the keys which were to be given to Peter it is suddenly that Jesus turns and rebukes Peter, calling him Satan! Why? Because when Peter heard what Jesus planned on accomplishing in Jerusalem he resisted the very notion of Calvary and rebuked the Lord for such a notion.
It was six days after this point with Peter that Jesus takes them up to the Mount and they see Moses and Elijah. It is as though the words of Jesus have failed them when they see this encounter before them. In Peter’s mind this is the RETURN! This is it! Elijah is here…restoration will occur through Elijah!
The disciples could not understand the concept of the Kingdom of God nor could they understand the return of their Messiah? After Jesus touches them and tells them to not be afraid He once again speaks of the Son of Man having to die and return from the dead. Immediately they inquire of Jesus “why then do the scribes state that Elijah must first return and restore all things?”
What exactly is it that they are failing to understand? Restoration! Their idea of restoration is connected to a physical kingdom where they will rule and reign with the Messiah. Restoration in their mind deals with being restored as a nation back to earthly power and authority. When John the Baptist stepped onto the scene he was fulfilling prophecy of Malachi. He was literally preparing the way for restoration. John begins to baptize unto repentance and calling that men everywhere repent. However, John alludes to one that would come AFTER HIM who would baptize them in the Holy Ghost and Fire.
Jesus responds to the disciples that Elijah has already returned. The Spirit of Elijah has already arrived and they denied and killed the one who this represented. This they realize was John the Baptist. The purpose for the encounter on the mountain was meant to be revelation as to the purpose of God in the flesh. He was to fulfill the law and the prophets! Isaiah spoke of it. David alluded to it in Messianic Psalms. Joel promised it! The entire first testament was full of figures, types and prophecies pointing to this very moment!
“Teach us how to pray,” the disciple once asked. Jesus responds, “Our Father which art in heaven….THY KINGDOM COME on EARTH as it is IN HEAVEN.” Yes, the KINGDOM! That is what they wanted to return! They wanted restoration of that glorious Theocracy! At every point it seems, given the right opportunity, they still could not comprehend the progress of restoration. Even after the death, burial and resurrection they inquired again in relation to the restoration of the kingdom.
Acts 1:6 (KJV)
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
Immediately Jesus responds to this question by telling them it isn’t for them to know the times or the seasons but rather:
Acts 1:8 (KJV) 8 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.
Jesus then ascends into heaven and the disciples stand gawking up towards the last place in which they see Jesus go. Talk about confusion! Constantly they have been thinking since His arrival at the Jordan river that the kingdom was going to be restored to them. At every turn they are like children let down in such great anticipation. The last they knew was that the Son of Man had to first die and so surely after being resurrected the restoration of the kingdom would happen!
“Why then has Jesus just left,” the disciples think among themselves as they gawk into the heavens. In their mind Jesus was going the wrong direction! Think of the familiar parts of this in relation to Peter, James and Johns encounter on the mountain! Was it not a cloud that showed up and two men disappear? No a cloud shows up and Jesus is not gone and suddenly they notice the presence of two men in white standing with them. (remember two angels and the tomb.)
Acts 1:11 (KJV) 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Great! Here we are talking about return again. If you ask me these disciples are so confused at this point that they can barely make heads or tails out of what has just happened. Nevertheless the only thing to do is head to Jerusalem as Jesus had commanded them to do and wait for this Holy Ghost which was promised to them. They go ahead during this time to replace Judas and there they wait in prayer and supplication.
Acts 2:1-4 (KJV) 1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
SUDDENLY! The Bible narrative recorded by Luke doesn’t tell us the sound WAS a rushing mighty wind but rather the sound he heard could only be described AS a rushing mighty wind. What is the significance of this? Remember that Jesus had spoken of his return preceded by a SOUND OF A TRUMPET. Was that what they were waiting for? Who knows! But it is quite significant that Luke records a SOUND AS OF A RUSHING MIGHTY WIND.
The word “sound” used in Acts 2:2 is where we get our English word for “echo.” It literally means “roar, roaring or sound.” One could present that the word presented here describes the sound of “air rushing through a shofar.” Does this have any validity? It does when we remember the presentation of scriptures first PENTECOST of great significance in the Word of God.
Exodus 19:16 (KJV)
16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that wasin the camp trembled.
50 days AFTER the Passover the children of Israel are gathered around the foot of Mount Sinai and on the day of Pentecost “IT CAME TO PASS” that as they were gathered together there were thunders and lightening, and a thick cloud and the VOICE OF THE TRUMPET EXCEEDING LOUD. Literally in Hebrew this means “a very loud shofar blast.” Remember Paul alluding to this very mountain?
Hebrews 12:18-23 (KJV)
18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more:
20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart:
21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:)
22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Galatians 4:24-27 (KJV)
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thoubarren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
The shofar had many uses in the first testament.
- It was used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
- It was used to coronate kings
- Sound alarms for the camp of Israel
- Convene assemblies
- Announce new moon
- Announced the Jubilee Year (POWERFUL)
- Used when Joshua waged war against walls of Jericho
- Used in various other battles
And yet among all of these there was an instance in which the Shofar was used and the significance of this sounding of the Shofar cannot be over looked!
2 Samuel 6:13-16 (KJV) 13 And it was so, that when they that bare the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed oxen and fatlings. 14 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. 16 And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. (sound of the trumpet is literally sound of the shofar.)
Why is this significant? Because to the people IN JERUSALEM it was the RETURN OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD! The glory was returning to Jerusalem and it was announced by the sound of the SHOFAR! Did you catch that? The return of HIS PRESENCE was announced by the sound of a shofar which as Exodus declared was EXCEEDING LOUD. Did you realize that the Psalmist alluded to the blast of the shofar?
Psalms 89:15 (KJV) 15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
The Hebrew of that scripture literally states: “blessed is the people that know the BLOWING.” It speaks of the blast of the shofar. Leviticus 23:24 uses the exact same word which speaks of the blast of the shofar which literally reads as “memorial of blowing.”
Leviticus 23:24 (KJV) 24 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, in the first day of the month, shall ye have a Sabbath, a memorial of blowing of trumpets, an holy convocation.
How then is this all tied together? John speaks of those who HEAR HIS VOICE and the result of hearing the voice is LIFE.
John 5:25 (KJV)
25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.
The purpose of Jesus coming was that we might have LIFE and LIFE MORE ABUNDANT. Constantly scripture alludes to us being “dead in trespasses.” In the first man Adam death was passed upon all creation and yet the second man Adam came to bring life.
Blessed are those, David declared, that KNOW THE SHOFAR BLAST! John 5:25 tells us that those who hear the voice shall live. The word “voice” is where we get our English word “phone.” In John 5:25 it is “phone`” meaning voice but the word can also mean “sound” (Phoni`.) In other words, sound and voice are practically interchangeable.
Remember the first mention of notable Pentecost in Exodus when the blasting of the shofar grew louder and louder which scripture states signified the coming down of the glory of God.
Exodus 19:18-20 (KJV) 18 And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. 19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. 20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
We have both the “SOUND” and the “VOICE” and the coming down of the Lord upon the Mount Sinai. Again I must repeat the powerful implication of Paul in Hebrews and Galatians speaking of us not coming to THAT MOUNTAIN but rather Mount Zion (AKA Jerusalem.) We cannot overlook the arrival of the Ark of the Covenant (symbolic of the presence of God) return to JERUSALEM announced by the SOUND (blast of the shofar.)
When Luke spoke of the COMING OF THE SPIRIT it was preceded by what he described as a SOUND (a loud roaring or confused noise.) This sound he describes as a RUSHING MIGHTY WIND (a BLOWING.) In other words, the only way he could describe what he heard was to explain it like a MIGHTY LOUD BLOWING. This is where it gets incredibly powerful.
Ezekiel 1:24 (KJV)
24 And when they went, I heard the noise of their wings, like the noise of great waters, as the voice of the Almighty, the voice of speech, as the noise of an host: when they stood, they let down their wings.
Ezekiel 43:2 (KJV)
2 And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like a noise of many waters: and the earth shined with his glory.
Revelation 1:15 (KJV)
15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
Jeremiah tells us that great waters ROAR. It is a ROARING SOUND!
Jeremiah 51:55 (KJV)
55 Because the LORD hath spoiled Babylon, and destroyed out of her the great voice; when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered:
Blessed are those who KNOW the BLOWING (blast of the Shofar) David declared. John spoke the words of Jesus that those who HEAR the VOICE of God SHALL LIVE. Exodus spoke of the coming of the Lord upon the Mount as preceded by a EXCEEDING LOUD BLAST of the Shofar. Luke declared that he heard a SOUND (Phone`) which could be translated also as VOICE which filled the house they were sitting (then they were filled with the Holy Ghost.) John the Revelator declared that the voice of God sounded like many waters. Ezekiel declared that the voice of God to him sounded like many waters!
BLESSED ARE THEY THAT KNOW THE BLAST OF THE SHOFAR!
John 10:27-28 (KJV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 10:4 (KJV)
4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.