What is the Transfiguration?

What does the bible say about the doctrine of the transfiguration? The word transfigured means, “to transform into something more beautiful or elevated.” In Matthew 17:1-8 and in Mark 9:1-13 we see the story of Jesus being transfigured on the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus gives the disciples a snapshot of His glory. In the gospel account in Matthew it really begins in Matthew 16:28 where Jesus says, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.” The transfiguration of Jesus recorded in Matthew 17:1-8 is a fulfillment of that promise made by Jesus in Matthew 16:28. The bible says in Matthew 17:1 after 6 days Jesus takes the inner circle of disciples including Peter, James and John to a high mountain. That mountain was probably Mt. Hermon near Caesarea Philippi. Jesus was transfigured or transformed before their eyes. He was glorified as He is in heaven today.

In Revelation 1:14-15 we see the glorified Jesus in heaven. Revelation 1:14-15 says concerning Jesus, “His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire. His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.” That is the picture of Jesus that Peter, James and John saw on Mt. Hermon that day. When you examine the text in Matthew 17:1-8 what do we see? In verse 2 it says that, “And He was transfigured before them…” The word translated, “transfigured” is the same word that we get, “metamorphosis” from. “Meta” means, “to change” and “morph” means “form.” Jesus in that moment changed his form to a glorified being. Just like a caterpillar going through metamorphosis to become a butterfly. Peter, James and John got a glimpse of the glorified Jesus as He would look in eternity. It was so dramatic that Elijah and Moses made an appearance on the Mt. of Transfiguration with them. God our Heavenly Father made an appearance in a bright cloud, saying in verse 5, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased: listen to Him!” What impact does the transfiguration event have on us today? It is a preview of our future metamorphosis. When Jesus comes again in glory, I John 3:2 says this about that day, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” I am looking forward to my future transfiguration.



Rev. Richard Humphries
Pastoral Care & Sr. Adult Minister

First Baptist Church
First Baptist Church