Mount of Transfiguration
"And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 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. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only. And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead." (Matthew 17:1–9, KJV)
Several candidates for this mountain have been suggested:
Mount Tabor is the traditional location. The earliest identification of the Mount of Transfiguration as Tabor is by Origen in the 3rd century. It is also mentioned by St. Cyril of Jerusalem and St. Jerome in the 4th century.The Church of the Transfiguration is located atop Mount Tabor. It is later mentioned in the 5th century Transitus Beatae Mariae Virginis.
Mount Hermon, was suggested by R. H. Fuller and J. Lightfoot for two reasons: It is the highest in the area (and the Transfiguration took place on "an high mountain" (Matthew 17:1)), and it is located near Caesarea Philippi (Matthew 16:13), where the previous events reportedly took place.
(Note* – However, it is important to note that this location was extremely far from Jerusalem, and Jesus & his Disciples would have been in Jerusalem for the Feast of Sukkot (Tabernacles), as it is one of three Pilgrimage feasts set forth in Leviticus 23, thereby making Mt. Hermon an unlikely reality for the place of Transfiguration)
Mount Hermon = 9,232 feet High. (33°24′N, 35°51′E; Hebrew: הר חרמון, Har Hermon) More Information on Mount Hermon
Other locations which have been proposed include: one of the Horns of Hattin by R.W. Stewart (1857), Gebel Germaq (1208m) 5 km SW of Safed, by W. Ewing (1906), Tell El-Ahmar (1452m) on the Golan Heights by Gustav Dalman (1924), and Mount Nebo by H.A. Whittaker (1987), Mount Sinai by Benjamin Urrutia[when?].
No geographical location
Others, such as A. Loisy (1908), have deliberately rejected seeking a geographical location.
Jesus was claimed to stand on the Mountain with Elijah and Moses. These would be the three figures which had the most miracles surrounding them in the Bible. Moses, representing the law and Elijah, the prophets. In Luke, Jesus spoke to Moses of Jesus' departure (in Greek, exodus).
29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure,[a] which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. ( Luke 9:29–31 ESV)
Peter, who was one of the claimed eyewitnesses, with James and John, reflects on this in 2 Peter about Peter's own departure – exodus.
13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things.
16 We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. (2 Peter 1:13–18 ESV )
This account is one of three in the New Testament where God is heard audibly speaking. All three accounts concern Jesus. They are:
- Jesus' baptism (Mk 1:9–11)
- The mount of transfiguration (Mk 9:14–29 )
- The burning bush (Acts 7:32–34)
The account of the Transfiguration occurs six (Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2) or eight (Luke 9:28) days after Peter's confession that Jesus is the Messiah at Caesarea Phillipi and immediately followed by coming down off the mountain and healing an epileptic boy. Peter's confession and Jesus' announcement He would die and rise are both in a sense confirmed with the discussion of Jesus' "exodus – departure" with Moses. The mountain top experience contrasts with the difficulties of life and healing of the boy (Mk:14–29).
- Meistermann, Barnabas (1912), "Transfiguration", The Catholic Encyclopedia XV, New York: Robert Appleton Company, retrieved 2007-08-15
- Jesus and Archaeology - Page 176 James H. Charlesworth - 2006 "R. H. Fuller and J. Lightfoot proposed Mount Hermon as the mount of the transfiguration, because the place"
- R.W. Stewart The Tent and the Khan 1854
- Charlesworth Jesus and Archaeology - Page 176 "G. Dalman chose tell el Akhmar on the Golan Heights as the place of transfiguration.” R. W. Stewart preferred the Horn of Hattin.“ W. Ewing thought Gebel Germaq was the place where Jesus showed his glory to the apostles.”
- Ewing "The Mount of Transfiguration" ET 1906-1907 p220
- G. Dalman Orte und Wege Jesu 1924
- H.A. Whittaker, Studies in the Gospels Biblia 1987
- Charlesworth Jesus and Archaeology "A. Loisy concluded that those who look for a geographical place for the transfiguration are like Peter who asked to build three tents. They do not ..."