The Transfiguration

Mark provides a series of parables in chronological order matched to the overall story of the Bible. This one is about Noah.

The Story

2And 6 days after, Joshua took Peter and Jacob and John, and brought them up to a high mountain alone; and he was transfigured before their eyes. 3His clothes shone and became white like snow, in such a manner that men on land cannot make white. 4And there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with Joshua. 5And Peter said to him, Rabbi, it is better for us to remain here; and let us make 3 shelters, 1 for you and 1 for Moses and 1 for Elijah. 6For he did not know what he was saying, for they were afraid. 7And there was a cloud overshadowing them, and a voice out of the cloud said, This is my beloved son; (Second Peter 1:17) hear him. 8And suddenly, when the disciples looked around, they saw no man with them, except Joshua.

9And as they came down from the mountain, he commanded them not to tell any man what they had seen, until the son of man had risen from the dead. 10So they kept that saying to themselves, and they wanted to know what risen from the dead meant. 11And they asked him saying, Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come 1st? 12He said to them, Elijah does come 1st to prepare everything; and as it is written concerning the son of man, that he will suffer much and be rejected. 13But I say to you that Elijah has come, and they did with him whatever they pleased, as it is written of him. Mark 9:2-13

Background

This story begins with a reference to 6 days. As with all prophetic stories involving Jesus, each day with Jesus is 1000 years of God’s dealing with mankind. This particular 6 day reference spans the 6000 years between Adam and Noah’s Flood. Curiously, Adam’s fall could only have happened when he was old enough to participate in a legal contract. That age is when someone is in their 20th year. The flood of Noah’s time began on the 17th day of the 2nd month of the 6020th year from Adam. This suggests strongly that the flood was timed to match exactly 6000 years from Adam’s fall.

The reference can also be taken another way. "After 6 days" is a carefully chosen way to say 7 days, which is the warning at the start of the storyline of Noah’s flood itself.

In the parable Jesus takes 3 of his disciples with him up the mountain. This is a prophetic match to Noah and his 3 sons.

Jesus’ clothes became shining white, suggesting the cleansing of the earth of the time is more complete than anyone on earth could have accomplished. It may also suggest something of the encounter Noah had with the Lord when the Lord sealed him in the Ark.

The Two who Appear

Two men, Elijah and Moses appear with Jesus. These two men are unusual because the man who should be here, but isn’t is Abraham. Abraham is more important than these two men because all relations between the Lord and men happen under the umbrella covenant established with Abraham.

The reason these two men appear with Jesus is because both are associated with important baptisms. This is of course what Noah’s flood was originally, a baptism of the race. (cite Paul) Moses took the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt through the Red Sea. This too was a baptism. Elijah struck the water with his cloak. (cite)

Building

At this sight Peter wants to built a shelter for everyone. Peter was greatly afraid. This matches Noah’s predicament closely. Noah had to build a shelter, an ark. Noah was also greatly afraid because his world was about to be destroyed in a flood. His ark mattered.

Gone in a Cloud

A cloud overshadows the group and a voice says listen to Jesus. Suddenly the cloud, and everyone else, was gone. In Moses’ day a cloud also overshadowed him. When the cloud was gone, so too were all the people in the pre-flood world.

Hidden Until After Ressurection

When they were coming down the mountain, likely prophetic for Mount Ararat in Turkey, (cite) Jesus command they tell no one until after the resurrection.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the story of Noah is what was the pre-flood world like? This question even fascinates people in the secular world that acknowledge there was a worldwide flood. Flood stories occur in essentially every people group across the world. Theories of what happend pre-flood include:

  • Industrialization Some have suggested the pre-flood world was industrial, like our world now or even better. The people alive in that era had 6000 years to develop it, and life lengths that were far longer than ours, allowing a longer time of application for any technical skills developed. Our industrial world only took 500 years or so to develop. So it was quite possible this was a least an industrial world as we think of it.

  • Still other people believe, perhaps, that there was a planetary shift at the same time as Noah. This is supported by Moses and Elijah, two men who also left the planet.

Whatever may have happened in the world before Noah, no extensive details have been passed down in reliable written forms.

Jesus’ claim that nothing is to be revealed about the pre-flood world suggests that full details from that era will not be widely available to people until after the general resurrection at the end of this age. (This by his sovereign plan, and thus likely covering up some great secret.)

The pre-flood world will remain a great secret until Noah is raised from the dead when he can share about what happened in that world with everyone else. The disciples wondering about what "raising from the dead" might mean is a parable for the Christian world today that rarely discusses the general resurrection at the end of the age.

Elijah the Restorer

The final dialog in this parable involves references to Elijah. The one who would come and restore all things.

Of course this is John the Baptist. It is also a reference to the baptism of the earth at the time of Noah. Noah came and restored all things, wiping out the consequences of sin from the previous generations. The world was left in a nearly virgin state, much of it would remain undisturbed until the past 100 years.

The general chronology of the Bible is symetric about the Exodus from Egypt. These stories are also parables about our current era, with less than 30 years remaining before these have all happened again.

Phil Stone, 2016-11-06