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


1After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Matthew 17:1-34Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters -- one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." Matthew 17:45While he was still speaking, a bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!" Matthew 17:56When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7But Jesus came and touched them. "Get up," he said. "Don't be afraid." 8When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus. Matthew 17:6-89As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, "Don't tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead." Matthew 17:910The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" Matthew 17:1011Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. 12But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." 13Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist. Matthew 17:11-13
(Matthew 17:1-13 NIV)


2After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone. There he was transfigured before them. 3His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them. 4And there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Mark 9:2-45Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelters -- one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah." 6(He did not know what to say, they were so frightened.) Mark 9:5-67Then a cloud appeared and enveloped them, and a voice came from the cloud: "This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!" Mark 9:78Suddenly, when they looked around, they no longer saw anyone with them except Jesus. Mark 9:89As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10They kept the matter to themselves, discussing what "rising from the dead" meant. Mark 9:9-1011And they asked him, "Why do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?" Mark 9:1112Jesus replied, "To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him." Mark 9:12-13
(Mark 9:2-13 NIV)


This story begins with a reference to 6 days. As with all prophetic stories involving Jesus, each day with Jesus is expanded prophetically to 1000 years(2 Pet 3:8) of normal history. 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, or for Adam, sometime in the year 20 AA.

The flood of Noah’s time began on 6020-02-17 AA. This suggests strongly that the flood was timed to match exactly 6 days * 1000 years/day = 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 story line 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 God when God sealed him in the Ark. His clothes may also suggest something about the weapons systems used in those days. Bright as the sun.

The 2 Who Appear

The reason these 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. Moses took the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt through the Red Sea.(Exod 14:21-22) This too was a baptism. Elijah struck the water with his cloak.(2 Kgs 2:8)


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 Resurrection

When they were coming down the mountain, likely prophetic for Mount Ararat(Gen 8:4) in modern Turkey, 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 happened 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 symmetric 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.