Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

During a Bible discussion for seekers last week, one of them asked a question that led me to ponder this questions.

As I understand it, the body of Moses (not Elijah since he never died) should still have been in the grave at the time of the Transfiguration of Jesus--and would be pretty decomposed at that point. However, his spirit (and probably souls) would have been in Paradise at that time--still separated from his body until the resurrection at the last day.

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. Matthew 17:1-3 ESV

If that is true, then what exactly did Peter, James and John see on the Mount of Transfiguration? Did they see the spirit of Moses? Can our spirits be seen with physical eyes? Were the disciples perhaps allowed to see spiritual things as Elisha appears to have done in 2 Kings 6?

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17 ESV

As a side note, the rich man and Lazarus presumably "saw" each other as well.

I'm looking for the Protestant understanding of this.

share|improve this question
    
Elijah would not have been in the grave since he didn't die –  warren Jun 26 '12 at 17:01
    
@warren Ah... good point. –  Narnian Jun 26 '12 at 18:26
add comment

3 Answers 3

According to Matthew 17:9, what they saw was a vision, and not the physical bodies of Moses and Elijah.

Matthew 17:9

As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, "Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead."

share|improve this answer
add comment

Trying to understand this from the human perspective is not the right way for God is spirit. Just like trying to understand how Mary became pregnant without having any sexual intercourse.
I would say that this is a demonstration of God promise that on His second return, those who died in faith will rise along with the living.

share|improve this answer
add comment

In Jude 9, we read:

But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “ The Lord rebuke you!”

This is often taught as the body of Moses was taken into heaven.

We also know that Elijah ascended in a fiery chariot in a whirlwind:

And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven

This would mean that the bodies of those mean would have been kept in heaven, so it could very well be that the two men were actually physically present.

share|improve this answer
2  
Moses did die, and was buried - by God Det 34:6 "And He buried him in the valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor; but no man knows his burial place to this day." –  warren Jun 26 '12 at 20:00
    
Just because he was buried that does not mean his remains remain underground. –  Ignatius Theophorus Jun 26 '12 at 20:54
1  
this is true, but it's speculation :) –  warren Jun 27 '12 at 0:03
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.