The Transfiguration and Who Is John the Baptist?

Matthew 17 vs. 1-13

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 Baptist. (King James Version)

About Jesus

In the previous chapter we have Peter declaring that the apostles know this about Jesus, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." This knowledge was to be kept secret among the apostles. Six days later Jesus takes three of them to a high mountain. On this mountain they hear God affirming what they declared six days earlier, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, here ye him." These words echo the same sentiment that God spoke to Israel through Moses about the Messiah, Deut 18. 15 The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; and 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. (kjv)

About John the Baptist

The three apostles on that mountain had a holy fright. They were overwhelmed by the presence of God. At the touch of Jesus they lifted their head and the vision was gone. They walk down the mountain together. Then comes the problem, if Jesus is the Son of the living God, the Messiah, then where is Elijah? The scribes do quote scripture when talking about Elijah coming first, Malachi 4.5 "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:" Jesus affirms that what the scribes are saying is true. He then goes on to explain that John the Baptist was Elijah.

If you are like me this starts your mind going. In Revelations it talks about two witnesses. They have tremendous power and authority. There are witnesses to Israel and the world. Personally I believe that these to witnesses come from heaven and are human. I believe that one of them is Elijah coming back before the great and dreadful day of the Lord. So what of John the Baptist? There was a special anointing upon Elijah. The Baptist had this very same anointing. According to Luke's gospel he walked in "the spirit and power of Elijah." This is one of those mysteries that could cause divisions in a church. It does not necessarily have to be one or the other. Yet God does things we seldom understand unless he reveals the truth. Personally I think that John the Baptist was his own individual. That in his mother's womb, at the point of conception, God took of the Spirit that was on Elijah and placed it upon that fertile egg of Elisabeth. This isn't a new concept for we read in Numbers 11.17 that God took of the Spirit that was on Moses and anointed seventy elders of the house of Israel so that they would help carry the burden of leading Israel. Is this the process at work in John? Is this why he is said to be Elijah? You have to decide for yourself. As for me there is something very special about this anointing that rested on John while inside his mother's womb and continued as he walked it out in his life. According to Matthew's gospel Jesus said in 11.14 "And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come."

I receive that:

  1. John the Baptist walked in the Spirit and Power of Elijah to fulfill his part in Jesus' first appearing.
  2. That Elijah will return bodily to the earth before the prophesied tribulation in The Revelation of Jesus given to that other John.

I hope in some way this has helped you.

Author: Joseph A Raymond
26 January 2011

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Website administrator: Joseph A Raymond
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada