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The Great Controversy, by Ellen G. White, [1858], at



The Transfiguration


I saw that the faith of the disciples was greatly strengthened at the transfiguration.  God chose to give the followers of Jesus strong proof that he was the promised Messiah, that in their bitter sorrow and disappointment they should not entirely cast away their confidence.  At the transfiguration the Lord sent Moses and Elias to talk with Jesus concerning his suffering and death.  Instead of choosing angels to converse with his Son, God chose those who had an experience in the trials of earth.  A few of his followers were permitted to be with him and behold his face lighted up with divine glory, and witness his raiment white and glistening, and hear the voice of God, in fearful majesty, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him.

Elijah had walked with God.  His work had not been pleasant.  God, through him, had reproved sin.  He was a prophet of God, and had to flee from place to place to save his life.  He was hunted like the wild beasts that they might destroy him.  God translated Elijah.  Angels bore him in glory and triumph to heaven.

Moses had been a man greatly honored of God.  He was greater than any who had lived before him.  He was privileged to talk with God face to face as a man speaketh with a friend.  He was permitted to see the bright light and excellent glory that enshrouded the Father.  Through Moses the Lord delivered the children of Israel from Egyptian bondage.  Moses was a mediator for the children of Israel.  He often stood between them and the wrath of God.  When the wrath of God was greatly kindled against Israel for their unbelief, their murmurings, and their grievous sins, Moses’ love for them was tested.  God promised him that if he would let Israel go, let them be destroyed, he would make of him a mighty nation.  Moses showed his love for Israel by his earnest pleading.  In his distress he prayed God to turn from his fierce anger, and forgive Israel, or blot his name out of his book.

When Israel murmured against God and against Moses, because they could get no water, they accused him of leading them out to kill them and their children.  God heard their murmurings, and bade Moses smite the rock, that the children of Israel might have water.  Moses smote the rock in wrath, and took the glory to himself.  The continual waywardness and murmuring of the children of Israel had caused him the keenest sorrow, and for a little he forgot how much God had borne with them, and that their murmuring was not against Moses, but against God.  He thought only of himself, how deeply he was wronged, and how little gratitude they manifested in return, for his deep love for them.

As Moses smote the rock, he failed to honor God, and magnify him before the children of Israel, that they might glorify God.  And the Lord was displeased with Moses, and said that he should not enter the promised land.  It was God’s plan to often prove Israel by bringing them into strait places, and then in their great necessity exhibit his power, that he might live in their memory, and they glorify him.

When Moses came down from the mount with the two tables of stone, and saw Israel worshiping the golden calf, his anger was greatly kindled, and he threw down the tables of stone, and broke them. I saw that Moses did not sin in this.  He was wroth for God, jealous for his glory.  But when he yielded to the natural feelings of the heart, and took glory to himself, which was due to God, he sinned, and for that sin, God would not suffer him to enter the promised land.

Satan had been trying to find something wherewith to accuse Moses before the angels.  Satan triumphed in that he had caused him to displease God, and he exulted, and told the angels that when the Saviour of the world should come to redeem man, he could overcome him.  For this transgression Moses came under the power of Satan - the dominion of death.  Had he remained steadfast, and not sinned in taking glory to himself, the Lord would have brought him to the promised land, and then translated him to heaven without seeing death.

I saw that Moses passed through death, but Michael came down and gave him life before he saw corruption.  Satan claimed the body as his, but Michael resurrected Moses, and took him to heaven.  The Devil tried to hold his body, and railed out bitterly against God, denounced him as unjust, in taking from him his prey.  But Michael did not rebuke the Devil, although it was through his temptation and power that God’s servant had fallen.  Christ meekly referred him to his Father, saying, The Lord rebuke thee.

Jesus told his disciples that there were some standing with him who should not taste of death till they should see the kingdom of God come with power.  At the transfiguration this promise was fulfilled.  The fashion of Jesus’ countenance was changed, and shone like the sun.  His raiment was white and glistening.  Moses was present, and represented those who will be raised from the dead at the second appearing of Jesus.  And Elias, who was translated without seeing death, represented those who will be changed to immortality at Christ’s second coming, and without seeing death will be translated to heaven. The disciples beheld with fear and astonishment the excellent majesty of Jesus, and the cloud that overshadowed them, and heard the voice of God in terrible majesty, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him.


See Exodus chap. 32; Numbers 20:7-12; Deuteronomy 34:5; 2 Kings 2:11; Mark chap. 9; Jude 9


Next: Chapter 7. The Betrayal of Christ