Jesus’ Glorified Companions
9. Should we expect Moses and Elijah to be with Jesus in the fulfillment of the transfiguration vision? Explain.
9 Jesus was not alone in the transfiguration. Moses and Elijah were seen with him. (Matthew 17:2, 3) Were they literally present? No, for both men had long since died and were asleep in the dust awaiting a resurrection. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10; Hebrews 11:35) Will they appear with Jesus when he comes in heavenly glory? No, because Moses and Elijah lived before the heavenly hope opened up to humans. They will be part of the earthly “resurrection of . . . the righteous.” (Acts 24:15) So their appearance in the transfiguration vision is symbolic. Of what?
12. In the context of the transfiguration, who are pictured by Moses and Elijah?
12 Who, then, do Moses and Elijah foreshadow in the context of the transfiguration? Luke says that they appeared along with Jesus “with glory.” (Luke 9:31) Clearly, they foreshadow Christians who have been anointed with holy spirit as “joint heirs” with Jesus and who thereby received the wonderful hope of being “glorified together” with him. (Romans 8:17) Resurrected anointed ones will be with Jesus when he comes in the glory of his Father to “recompense each one according to his behavior.”—Matthew 16:27.
Witnesses Like Moses and Elijah
13. What features mark Moses and Elijah as fitting prophetic pictures of Jesus’ anointed joint heirs glorified with him?
13 There are notable features that mark Moses and Elijah as fitting prophetic pictures of Jesus’ anointed joint heirs. Both Moses and Elijah served as Jehovah’s spokesmen for many years. Both faced the wrath of a ruler. In a time of need, each was supported by a foreign family. Both boldly prophesied to kings and stood firm against false prophets. Moses and Elijah both saw demonstrations of Jehovah’s power on Mount Sinai (also called Horeb). Both commissioned successors on the east side of the Jordan. And the times of both Moses (with Joshua) and Elijah (with Elisha) saw the greatest number of miracles, apart from those that occurred during the lifetime of Jesus.*
14. How have the anointed served as Jehovah’s spokesman, like Moses and Elijah?
14 Does not all of that remind us of the Israel of God? Yes, indeed. Jesus told his faithful followers: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) In obedience to these words, anointed Christians have served as Jehovah’s spokesman from Pentecost 33 C.E. until now. Like Moses and Elijah, they have faced the wrath of rulers and have witnessed to them. Jesus told his 12 apostles: “You will be haled before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them and the nations.” (Matthew 10:18) His words have been fulfilled repeatedly during the history of the Christian congregation.—Acts 25:6, 11, 12, 24-27; 26:3.
15, 16. What parallels are there between the anointed on the one hand and Moses and Elijah on the other in the matter of their (a) fearlessly standing for truth? (b) receiving help from non-Israelites?
15 Further, anointed Christians have been as fearless as Moses and Elijah in standing for truth against religious falsehood. Remember how Paul denounced the Jewish false prophet Bar-Jesus and tactfully but firmly exposed the falseness of the gods of the Athenians. (Acts 13:6-12; 17:16, 22-31) Remember, too, that in modern times the anointed remnant has boldly exposed Christendom and such witnessing has plagued her.—Revelation 8:7-12.*
16 When Moses fled the wrath of Pharaoh, he found refuge in the home of a non-Israelite, Reuel, also called Jethro. At a later time, Moses received valuable organizational counsel from Reuel, whose son Hobab guided Israel through the wilderness.* (Exodus 2:15-22; 18:5-27; Numbers 10:29) Have members of the Israel of God been helped similarly by individuals who are not anointed members of the Israel of God? Yes, they have been supported by the “great crowd” of “other sheep,” who have appeared on the scene during these last days. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16; Isaiah 61:5) Foretelling the warm, loving support that these “sheep” would offer his anointed brothers, Jesus said to them prophetically: “I became hungry and you gave me something to eat; I got thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you received me hospitably; naked, and you clothed me. I fell sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to me. . . . Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”—Matthew 25:35-40.
17. How did the anointed have an experience similar to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb?
17 Further, the Israel of God had an experience comparable to that of Elijah on Mount Horeb.* Like Elijah at the time he was running from Queen Jezebel, the fearful anointed remnant thought that their work was done at the end of World War I. Then, also like Elijah, they had an encounter with Jehovah, who had come to judge those organizations claiming to be “the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1-3) While Christendom was found wanting, the anointed remnant was recognized as “the faithful and discreet slave” and was appointed over all Jesus’ earthly belongings. (Matthew 24:45-47) In Horeb, Elijah heard “a calm, low voice” that proved to be that of Jehovah, giving him more work to do. In the quiet period of the postwar years, faithful anointed servants of Jehovah heard his voice from the pages of the Bible. They too perceived that they had a commission to fulfill.—1 Kings 19:4, 9-18; Revelation 11:7-13.
18. How have outstanding manifestations of Jehovah’s power been channeled through the Israel of God?
18 Finally, have outstanding manifestations of Jehovah’s power been channeled through the Israel of God? After Jesus’ death, the apostles performed many miracles, but these gradually ceased. (1 Corinthians 13:8-13) Nowadays, we do not see miracles in a physical sense. On the other hand, Jesus said to his followers: “Most truly I say to you, He that exercises faith in me, that one also will do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these.” (John 14:12) This had an initial fulfillment as Jesus’ disciples preached the good news throughout the Roman Empire in the first century. (Romans 10:18) Even greater works have been done today as the anointed remnant has spearheaded the preaching of the good news “in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) The result? The 20th century has witnessed the ingathering of the greatest number of dedicated, faithful servants of Jehovah in history. (Revelation 5:9, 10; 7:9, 10) What magnificent evidence of Jehovah’s power!—Isaiah 60:22.
Jesus’ Brothers Come in Glory
19. When are Jesus’ anointed brothers seen with him in glory?
19 As the remnant of Jesus’ anointed brothers finish their earthly course, they are glorified with him. (Romans 2:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 15:53; 1 Thessalonians 4:14, 17) Thus they become immortal kings and priests in the heavenly Kingdom. With Jesus, they will then “shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels.” (Revelation 2:27; 20:4-6; Psalm 110:2, 5, 6) With Jesus, they will sit on thrones judging “the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matthew 19:28) Groaning creation has eagerly awaited these events, which are part of “the revealing of the sons of God.”—Romans 8:19-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-8.
20. (a) Regarding what prospect did the transfiguration strengthen Peter’s faith? (b) How does the transfiguration strengthen Christians today?
20 Paul spoke of the revelation of Jesus during the “great tribulation” when he wrote: “He comes to be glorified in connection with his holy ones and to be regarded in that day with wonder in connection with all those who exercised faith.” (Matthew 24:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10) What a magnificent prospect that is for Peter, James, John, and all spirit-anointed Christians! The transfiguration strengthened Peter’s faith. Surely, reading about it strengthens our faith too and fortifies our confidence that Jesus will soon “recompense each one according to his behavior.” Faithful anointed Christians who have survived to this day see their confidence confirmed that they will be glorified with Jesus. Other sheep have their faith strengthened in the knowledge that he will save them through the end of this wicked system of things into the glorious new world. (Revelation 7:14) What an encouragement to stand firm to the end! And this vision can teach us much more, as we will see in the following article.