Monday, 20 January 2020
And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 2 Peter 1:18
Like verse 16, Peter again uses the word “we” to confirm that what was heard wasn’t limited to him alone, but to two others, James and John, who were with him. The fact that he doesn’t even bother to mention them by name demonstrates how well known the account had become. Any forger would have added in some note of explanation, such as “we apostles,” or “the three of us.” However, he simply relays what happened by saying, “And we heard this voice.”
This is referring to the voice which “came to Him from the Excellent Glory.” As noted in that verse, the word “came” is better translated as “borne.” Likewise, he again uses the same Greek word again in this verse. Peter and the other two “heard this voice which was borne from heaven.” As noted, this is an obvious connection to the giving of the Spirit at Pentecost, and thus it is a note that all three members of the Godhead were present at this event.
The voice concerned Jesus, but it was for the benefit of those who heard, in order to convince them that the presence of God was being made manifest. There is a voice, it comes without a visible speaker, and it is spoken to alert the surrounding hearers that God in heaven is presenting revelation for them to hear and understand. This is confirmed by Peter saying, “when we were with Him.”
The Jews who heard the events at Pentecost could make the same claim later – “We were there at Pentecost, with the apostles and disciples of Christ, when there came the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Tongues of fire alighted upon them, and they began to speak in other languages. We were with them when it happened!” In both instances, there was an immediate recipient of the sound, but there are also secondary recipients.
Peter then says that these things occurred “on the holy mountain.” The term is applied after the event, not before. At the time this occurred, the gospels simply say that Jesus led the three “up on a high mountain.” It was just one of many mountains in Israel, and there was no specific holiness attached to it. However, Peter now calls it “the holy mountain.”
The purpose of this is obvious. It is to show that the presence of God sanctified the mountain. The event is what brought the idea of consecration to it. Likewise, the term “holy mountain” is used in the Old Testament to point to the place where the Lord, Jehovah, dwelt. It is His presence which makes the mountain holy, and therefore Peter is establishing that the presence of the triune God, highlighted by the transfiguration of Christ, is that which so sanctified the Mount of Transfiguration.
Life application: On the Mount of Transfiguration, the attendance of Moses represents the Law, and Elijah represents the Prophets – Jesus being the fulfillment of each. Further, Moses’ death is recorded in the Bible, while Elijah was taken to heaven alive. Therefore, these two reflect God’s control over both the living and the dead who are in Christ. A later realization of this will be at the rapture when the dead will rise first followed by those who are alive at the Lord’s coming. We will be gathered together!
Peter’s eyes were directed at the splendid arrival of these two heroes of his past, but God’s response was clear – fix your attention on Jesus. This is what the Bible proclaims from beginning to end. We are to have our thoughts, hopes, aspirations, eyes, and ears fixed on Jesus. Anything else fails to hit the mark.
Lord God, forgive us for directing our attention to lesser things in life. Forgive us for being distracted by fame, notoriety, wealth, or any other fleeting aspect of our human state. Give us the wisdom to look beyond these temporary things to the eternal glory of Jesus our Lord. May He be the focus of all of who we are. To Your glory we pray. Amen.