2019 Study Summary 14: “Thou Art the Christ”
Matthew 16—17; Mark 9; Luke 9
How does the literary rendering teach us a greater meaning for the transfiguration?
The following verse excerpts show the chiastic teaching pattern in the chapter of Matthew 16. “. . . 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.” (Matthew 16:19) “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.” (Matthew 16:21)
What was the highest tribute the Father gave?
The promise of sealing keys and a prophecy of three-days is followed by the transfiguration. “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.” (Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:7) President Kimball said about his visit, “I felt I was on the highest spot on the face of the earth.” The verses that follow state the three-days and keys in reverse, a chiasm that centers on the Father’s witness and tribute of His Son. “And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.” (Matthew 17:23) “Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: an whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 18:18)
What can we learn from Heavenly Father’s words?
These highest tributes rendered by the Father, “beloved” and “I am well pleased,” are an example for us to use in place of “pride” or “I am proud of you.” In 1989, Prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Ezra Taft Benson, gave a profound talk about removing “pride” and “proud” from our language. Being pleased is a tribute; being proud seems self-interested.
How does the transfiguration fulfill Jewish expectations?
It is likely that Jesus’ remarkable transfiguration occurred during the very Sukkoth season when Jews expect the Prophet Moses (and others) to return. It is the custom to build small booths called tabernacles or in Hebrew, a sukkah. Sukkoth is a sequel to Passover (the first full moon after the first day of spring) when Elijah is expected. Sukkoth begins on the first full moon after the first day of fall, when seven guests, the Ushpazin, are expected, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph, David.” (https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/571505/jewish/The-Ushpizin.htm)
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How was the transfiguration like the endowment?
The transfiguration may have been a special temple-like endowment for Peter, James, and John. “I am convinced in my own mind that when the Savior took the three disciples up on the mount, which is spoken of as the “Mount of Transfiguration,” he there gave unto them the ordinances that pertain to the house of the Lord and that they were endowed. That was the only place they could go. That place became holy and sacred for the rites of salvation which were performed on that occasion.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, Pg.170)
What may have determined the dates of General Conferences?
The holiest convocations the Children of Israel were commanded to keep were the spring convocation Passover and Sukkoth in the fall. General Conferences also coincide seasonally.
What added insight is there to putting-our-hand-to-the-plow?
There is a Mosaic law that relates to a yoke of unlike animals. The unfairness of plowing with a donkey and an ox is clearly visible when looking at the lesser creature. “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.” (Deuteronomy 22:10) Consider that the Lord wants to relieve us of the unfairness in life. He is saying, in effect, “I am carrying the burden; take advantage of it.” The prophet Isaiah taught us that the Lord would relieve us from the yoke of our burdens. (Isaiah 9:4) In examining the small amount of material we have about Jesus’ life, only 31-days described of His 33-years on earth, we see how privately and personally He takes burdens upon Himself. Therefore he said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)