From the “INTERPRETATION of THE ENTIRE NEW TESTAMENT – The Gospel According to Matthew” – by Apostolos Makrakis. Now available on Amazon.com in Kindle and Paperback formats
Only Christ’s kingdom is an eternal kingdom, a kingdom of righteousness and legal justice, in which all are tried justly, and each one is dealt with according to his deeds: those who performed good deeds are granted the good life; whereas those who are guilty of vicious deeds are punished with a miserable life. Christ the king of this kingdom will come in the glory of His Father as a universal and supreme judge surrounded by a great multitude of angels who will carry out His judicial and just decisions; and then He will render unto each one according to his actions. To the one who died for Jesus, He will provide a glorious eternal life; but the one who died in his sins He will condemn to an unhappy life which is called eternal damnation. In view of these facts there is nothing wiser or more, advantageous for every man than to follow Christ and be crucified with Him and rise with Him to life eternal and be glorified with Him according to the glory due the sons of God. All this was known to the disciples and to the once blacksliding Peter; and so, denying themselves, they followed behind a leader who guided them safely to the blessed goal he had promised them.
After confirming His statement regarding His future kingdom and glory and convincing them of its truth, he announces to all that some of the disciples standing about Him would, before tasting death, during their present life see Him coming in His kingly glory and person, so that they may as witnesses confirm the truth, that they saw Christ in His kingly and divine glory before they saw Him crucified and dishonored by the Jews. And this statement He substantiated after six days, as the following chapter relates.
The six days which passed from the day on which Jesus foretold his glorious coming, represent the period of men’s work, and the works which must be completed by the seventh day which is the day of the Lord, great and notable; for on this day the Lord appears shining and illumining and celebrating an auspicious day which brings to an end the period of the power of darkness and night. For, just as the three select disciples of Christ, Peter, James, and John, after a period of six days saw Jesus in the glory of his Godliness gleaming brighter than the Sun, likewise all Christians after the alloted period for work and the fulfillment of the prophesied events see the Lord coming in the glory of His Father, in the glory of the universal and supreme critic surrounded by a host of angels who carry out His will and His decisions. But Jesus took out of the twelve, only three disciples–Peter and James and John his brother; for the law requires two or three witnesses and no more, toward the confirmation of every truth and every event or act. During this period of ignorance and darkness God affirms truths and demonstrates them through these lawful and dependable witnesses of the truth. And those who disbelieve these lawful and dependable witnesses of the truth violate the law of God and incur the consequences of all their violators. And the first and immediate consequence of the rejection of the “reliable witness” testimony is the disbeliever’s straying away from the path of truth and entering upon the path of falsehood and perdition. Those who do not believe the witness of truth, naturally believe falsehood, the opposite of truth, tread upon treacherous ground, and fall into the abyss of destruction. Moreover, this law pertaining to the testifying and confirming of truth reproaches the delusion of the Roman Catholic church, which decrees that one high priest–the Pope of Rome–is sufficient to confirm every truth; that only he alone as a successor (supposed) of Apostle Peter has the prerogative of the infallible one and no one else. But why did not Jesus take Peter alone upon the mount of transfiguration, but also the two other brothers, James and John? Because Peter alone could not satisfactorily bear witness to the event of transfiguration, because Peter alone was not an acceptable and reliable witness of that divine vision, for “in the mouth of two or three witnesses of the truth every word may be established.” If, then, Peter alone was an insufficient witness of the truth, how can the supposed successor of Peter, how can only the bishop of one city have the prerogative of the infallible one toward the confirmation, and disposition of every truth, and not two or three according to the divine law? We are offering this reproach of the Papal delusion as a saving benefaction to the deluded, so that they may return to the truth and to the true Church of Christ. But delusion has its seeming benefits and charms, for the deluded generally prefer delusion, and certain perdition instead of the truth and salvation. And those who are guilty of such a heresy and choice deserve the destruction which they willingly welcome and are unworthy of salvation. But we must testify the truth which God loves, and he who has ears, hears.
The transfiguration of Christ on Mount Tabor of Galilee is absolutely concrete proof of the Divinity of Jesus, combined and united then with human nature; because He who had till then appeared a man in the eyes of His disciples now appears gleaming and illuminating more brightly than the Sun, being the eternal Sun of righteousness and the creator of the stars. The light of the divine essence has shone forth over men through human essence, and the face of Jesus flashes and casts forth the lightrays of Christ’s Divinity; and the three witnesses behold the Godliness of Jesus manifested by means of his human form. “And his face did shine as the sun and his raiment white as the light.” The above expresses very briefly the actual truth; for the brightness of the physical Sun is much less intense than that of the metaphysical Sun, and physical light much inferior to the metaphysical and divine and eternal light. But human tongue could not express and describe that sight except by means of such relatively similar phrases whereby we rise to the understanding of the mental which lie far above the sensory.
This vision too serves to prove that the fruth of God must always be testified to by two or three reliable witnesses. Moses and Elias the two outstanding prophets of the Jewish nation testify to the incarnate Christ-God and converse with Him as servants with their master, they converse concerning His passion and death and resurrection as Luke the Evangelist records; for the salvation of the world and the great and timeless plan of God is to be accomplished through them–a fact foretold and foreseen by all the prophets. Two witnesses from the Old Testament, Moses and Elias, and three from the New–Peter and James and John, observe Jesus upon Mount Tabor and testify that he is incarnate God; so that through the death and the resurrection of human nature Satan who has power of death may be done away with; and so that all those may be raised to life eternal and deathless, all who have believed in the repeatedly and variously testified to and demonstrated truth of God, and who will see Christ as He was seen by His reliable witnesses on Mount Tabor, who will rejoice greatly as did the beholding Peter who said:
This statement of Peter expresses the feeling of delight in his soul as a result of his vision of that divine light. So delighted was Peter by that light that he wished to remain there incessantly delighted and idle. It is good for all of them, he says, to be there and never to leave and be deprived of this great sight; but they need tents, and if Jesus is willing as he is, they could make three tents, one for Jesus, one for Moses, and one for Elias, so that they could remain there forever and be eternally delighted as they are now. But Jesus did not desire what Peter desired, who did not know what he said or what he wanted, for he wanted the absurd and impossible. But the more absurd and stupid Peter’s suggestion is, the more fervent and expressive of his spiritual inclination and desire-the result of his contact and touch with that divine light. Most naturally, when we too are overwhelmed by this divine light we shall say “It is good for us to remain in this light and to behold God, and all things through God, and to be enchanted and delighted unceasingly and unchangeably, to live in perpetual enchantment that knows no sorrow.” Such will be the future state of the blessed souls.
This voice testifies as to the identity of the One Who speaks from the effulgent cloud and as to what this cloud reveals, from which the Father acknowledges the Son before three witnesses, so that they too may testify as to what they saw and heard. The effulgent cloud is the symbol of the Holy Spirit through which God speaks to men and reveals Himself through the statement He makes, as one God, Father of one only begotten Son and the source of one Holy Spirit manifested and imparted by the Son to those who hear the voice of the Father and submit themselves to th Son. The three witnesses saw God on Mount Tabor, in three persons : they saw the face of the Son shining brighter than the sun, they saw the Holy Spirit in its elements of the effulgent cloud, and they heard the voice of the Father speaking from the lambent cloud and saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.” Thus, did the three Apostles see God on mount Tabor, these are the things they testified to, and their testimony is true. Those who accept it acquire through it a knowledge of and a profound insight into one and only true God revealed in three persons; they believe in Christ and recognize Him as Son of the living God; they hear His voice, that is, obey his law and the commandments of Christ; and inherit a firm and eternal kingdom. But those who do not accept this testimony, reject the true knowledge of the true God and lapse into the false; disbelieve in Christ and believe in Satan, in the misrepresentations, and slanders and falsehoods of Satan; and they go with him to the unquenchable fire of eternal damnation. But we who accept the testimony of the three reliable witnesses–Peter and James and John–must distinguish ourselves from those who have rejected it, and constitute a genuinely Christian community unpolluted by the hostile and anti-Christ element of disbelief; for otherwise if the faithful are intermingled with the faithless they will stumble and fail to walk aright; and they will be unable to hear the voice of Christ, and live according to the Evangelical law; and hence they will sin and be condemned with the faithless. Confusion and disorder are to Satan’s advantage; but to us Christians, discrimination and order are of paramount importance. Everyone who advocates discrimination and order is of Christ and a true Christian; whereas he who advocates confusion and disorder is of Satan–a subverter and underminer of the Christian Church.
From such an outcome we conclude: that the voice of the Father sounded thunderous and dread to the ears of the disciples, therefore they fell on their face in great fear; that the voice of the Lord was a voice of might and a voice of grandeur. And this voice of the Lord is identified to the previously recorded confession of Peter saying to Christ “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” And then Christ blessed Peter because he received this true knowledge through the revelation of the heavenly Father–knowledge upon which the Church of Christ is founded and erected. But even now upon Mount Tabor, the same father reveals the same truth, and to the three disciples he says in a clearer and more dignified manner: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.” Hence, the testimony of Peter, for it was revealed to him by the heavenly Father, is for this reason identified to the testimony of the Father who said from the effulgent cloud: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him.”
This voice points out the foundation and the basic law of the Christian Church, and the same voice also reproaches the false and spurious foundation upon which the Papists have erected their own bye-synagogue, their own heresy by means of which they have torn asunder and confounded the Church of Christ, and promoted the delusion of the Antichrist. Let him who will, read this reproach in our recently reprinted memoirs “of the Nature of Christ’s Church, and its basic laws.”
The vision was seen by three disciples so that they might become witnesses of the things seen and heard at the appropriate time, and not the inappropriate time; for everything has its time, and there is a time for everything. The reality of the vision must remain hidden in the souls of the disciples until the time when the Son of man rises from the dead. Therefore, the Lord, who knows the time for every act, ordered those disciples who had seen God not to disclose the nature of the vision until He had fulfilled the mission of His incarnation and his resurrection from the dead.
Because of the statement of Prophet Malachi, “I shall send unto you Elias the Thesbite before the great and auspicious day of the Lord”, the Scribes said that Elias must come before Christ; hence, since Elias the Thesbite had not come as yet, neither had Christ. Thus, thinking unreasonably, they denied Christ and misrepresented Him as a pseudo-christ who deluded the people. Therefore, because the disciples saw Elias on Mount Tabor, speaking with Christ, they remembered the statement of the Scribes and wondered upon what they based their opinion that Elias must come before Christ. And so, they asked their Master concerning it that he might solve their naturally aroused wonderment.
Obviously, the prophecy of Malachi according to Christ’s interpretation was fulfilled in the person of John the Baptist. He is the Elias who came before Christ; but the Scribes did not know him, they dishonored and insulted him and praised Herod his slayer. Thus, not knowing Elias who came before Christ, they could not know Christ either whom, having thought to be a pseudo-Christ they were to condemn to death on the cross. And if Elias has come, whom the Scribes did not know, why did Christ say that Elias shall come and restore all things? Who is the coming Elias who is to restore all things, that is, reestablish the system and righteousness of God within the people of God? The Elias who has come, or John the Baptist, has not restored all things; but he has been put to death because he reproached Herod’s adultery, and has restored no order whatsoever. Is it tenable that the Elias who has come and restored nothing is one man; and the Elias who shall come to restore all things, another? If the latter is another, then who is this? The coming Elias is the preaching of repentance begun by the Elias who has come, or John the Baptist, which has not ceased in the least until the present day, and which shall not cease until all the people repent and return to their former status from which they disintegrated. This is the coming Elias, who goes from one generation to another; for every preacher and teacher of true repentance is Elias who comes and continues the work of John the Baptist until the restoration of all the laws and institutions of the Church which are now trodden upon. And those who await Elias, the Thesbite, are deluded as were the Scribes and Pharisees not having had a profound understanding of the Elias who came during their time.