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Evidence of Eternity

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
September 14, 2022 12:00 am

Evidence of Eternity

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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September 14, 2022 12:00 am

Almost everyone universally accepts the existence of an afterlife. Some cultures use mythology, some adapt from the Bible, others refuse to predict what eternity will be, but still acknowledge that earthly death is not the end. Only a select few human beings--besides Jesus--have been given any meaningful glimpse of what the glory of the eternal kingdom will look like here on earth. And every single one of those people are in this text from the Gospel of Luke.

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Jesus fulfilled everything the Mosaic law pointed toward. Jesus fulfilled everything the sacrificial system promised that the prophets declared.

This mountaintop experience is a reminder to them. Pharaoh never was really in charge, after all. Ahab and Jezebel were never really in control, after all. And now here, Rome and the Sanhedrin of Israel are not really in charge.

Who do you think is in charge of your world today? The majority of people in the world accept the existence of an afterlife. Some cultures use mythology, and some adapt a view from the Bible. Some cultures refuse to predict what eternity will be like, but still acknowledge that earthly death is not the end. Only a select few human beings in all of history have been given any first-hand glimpse into the glory of the eternal kingdom. And every single one of those people are in our text today from the Gospel of Luke.

Stephen continues his series called, Into the Spotlight, with this message called, Evidence of Eternity. If you travel to Australia, the Aborigines picture heaven as a distant island somewhere on the western horizon. The settlers of Finland taught that eternal life was on an island in the Faraway East. Mexicans, Peruvians, Polynesians believed that they would go to live forever on either the sun or the moon. The early Babylonians taught that eternity was the resting place of heroes, and a tree of life was included in their story, obviously a combination of their legend with the remaining understanding of the creation account.

In the Pyramids of Egypt, maps are found by archaeologists placed near entombed royalty, supposedly to help them on their journey into the afterlife. Even unbelieving Seneca, the Roman philosopher, wrote, quote, The day you fear as your last is the birthday of your eternal life. This global unifying testimony of the human heart throughout history is simply and undeniably God has stamped it on the human heart.

And it's this truth. There is life after death. Where can you go in the Bible to get a glimpse of what life is like in the life to come? Where do you find evidence of eternity? Well, I want to answer that question by taking you to something that Peter and James and John will probably refer to for the rest of their lives as their mountain top experience.

Who knows? Maybe this is where the expression came from. Let's go back to the next event in our study through Luke's Gospel. We're in Chapter nine, if you're new to us today, and we're now at verse twenty eight.

Let's go up there and join them on the mountaintop for a moment or two today. Luke writes in verse twenty eight. Now, about eight days after these sayings, he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered and his clothing became dazzling white. Now, for a moment, we'll go over to Matthew.

I have it on the screen for you. In his account, it reads, and he was transfigured before them and his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light. The word Matthew uses for transfigured is the word metamorpho, which gives us our word metamorphosis.

You could think of it this way. The glory that was always in him as fully God, though fully man, rises at his will to the surface for this brief momentary, brilliant display of kingly glory. Matthew says his face shone like the sun. Luke writes here that even his clothing became dazzling white. It's pretty bright up there. Now, it's not enough to say the Lord's clothing became white. It's not what he's saying. Luke is trying to describe how bright it was. In fact, the other gospel accounts, because of the light, as we'll see and I'll mention, is emitting from him, they struggle to describe it.

How white is this white light. The other day, one of the light bulbs in a bathroom upstairs burned out. Marsha asked me to reach up there and change it. Unfortunately, I'm tall enough. No, it's one of the few things I can actually do. She knows if she asks me to do something complicated, we're going to have to call a carpenter.

At any rate, I can do that. It's one of six light bulbs and two trays over that bathroom counter. I thought this was easy enough, so I got a light bulb from the closet and put it in and turned on the light switch, and that white light bulb glowed ever so slightly orange.

It was obviously different than the other five. So, I have a dilemma. I can ignore it, go down to Marsha's, everything's great.

I thought I would ever do that. So, off I go to Loews to get an education I really don't want to get. All those white light bulbs look alike, but as I looked, aha, there's a description. They're described as cool white and neutral white and basic white and relaxing white and natural light and soft white.

I just want a light bulb to give a little light to match the other five. I think that's part of the frustration here as you compare these gospel accounts. How do they describe this? Mark's gospel, I love his, I mentioned it last Lord's Day, he writes it this way, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. In other words, man, I've never seen white light like this. He uses the word dazzling or gleaming, your translation may read. And the word used is actually a word referring to emitting light. It's a word used in the Bible actually to describe lightning, the flashing of lightning. It isn't so much that his brown tunic or his cream-colored tunic or his gray tunic or whatever it was, he was wearing change color. Now what's happening here is that brilliant light, as he turns up, as it were, the wick of his deity, it literally emits through and from his body, turning everything into blazing, dazzling light.

I didn't see any light bulbs at Lowe's described as dazzling white or lightning white. That's because this here isn't natural. This is supernatural. You see, the miracles of Jesus up to this point in our exposition through Luke have shown us what he can do. This event is showing us who he is.

He's the king. This is the light of the king. It's also a revelation of his personal glory, his deity. The glory that has been veiled, as it were, by that incarnation when he took on flesh.

He just lets a little light peek out and it is as bright as the sun. This is also a preview of the glory that awaits those of you who believe in him. If you can imagine it, the Apostle John, who was there on this mountaintop, will one day write this staggering news. When Jesus appears, we shall be like him.

Like him. In fact, our future is previewed here in the presence of two men who arrive on this mountaintop. It goes on to write here in verse 30, and behold, two men were talking with him. Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory, that is, they also are glorious, and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. The word for departure is exedon. That gives us our word, exodus or exit. Just as the book of Exodus gives us the account of Israel's exit from Egypt. So Jesus is talking with Moses and Elijah here about his exit from earth. This would have included everything from his crucifixion, to his resurrection, to his ascension. All of that is going to take place in Jerusalem. Now, none of this then is an accident. Jesus isn't hoping, you know, Pilate lets him out. They're talking about it as if it is done.

This is the plan. Jesus is not a victim. He is a willing sacrifice.

This is why he came. Earlier, Jesus had preached in Matthew chapter 5, I do not think that I've come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have not come to abolish them, but to fulfill them.

And who does he just so happen to be talking with here on the mountain? Moses representing the law, and Elijah representing the prophets. Jesus fulfilled everything the Mosaic law pointed toward. Jesus fulfilled everything the sacrificial system promised. Jesus fulfilled every promise of his first coming that the prophets declared.

This mountaintop experience is a reminder to them and to us. Pharaoh never was really in charge after all. Ahab and Jezebel were never really in control after all. And now here, Rome and the Sanhedrin of Israel are not really in charge of these events. Who do you think is in charge of your world today?

Who do you think is in charge of your life today? Moses has been dead for 1500 years. Elijah had died 900 years before this event. They're evidently very much alive. And now they are the ones dressed in regal splendor.

They are the ones addressing matters of eternity with none other than the Son of God. They're talking about his exit. The original language indicates that this was an extended conversation.

We don't know how long it lasted, but it lasted a good while. And what a conversation it must have been. This is a preview of what Jesus promised in Matthew 1343. That the righteous, those right with God, will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. This is the same brilliant light description we have for the face of Jesus, now for your face and mine. Now we don't become divine. We're not little gods. We're simply given the glory of Christ and we literally wear it on our glorified bodies as we become shining immortals.

I'm looking at you right now and I don't have to squint. But one day, wow, it will be amazing. But I have to tell you, as I've thought about this passage, one of the most wonderful surprises here on this mountaintop is that Jesus is including Moses and Elijah in his great plan of salvation. He's talking to them about his exit, his atoning death, his resurrection, his ascension. He's talking to them about that.

He's including them in this incredible scene. You know, I probably told you this sometime years ago. I can't remember, but I can admit, I remembered it when I came to this passage here. It reminded me of that moment when I was called into my fifth grade teacher's office. I thought I was in trouble because I couldn't think of anything I'd done recently. And I sat down in that overstuffed chair and he looked at me and he said, hey, I want to talk to you about some ideas I have for our fifth grade class and I want you to tell me what you think about it.

Wow. To this day, I can remember the joy I felt that this big guy, this big, tall fifth grade teacher, who always smelled like coffee, he had brought me in to include me in his plans. Imagine this only a trillion times more thrilling. Imagine being called by God the Father and told, hey, I want you to go down there to the mountaintop and I want you to talk to God the Son about some plans we've got.

You want to do that? What could Elijah do about it? What is Moses going to advise? It's like asking a fifth grader, what do you think of my plans? This is nothing less than an amazing demonstration of grace that God who does not need us is willing to include us in the unfolding plan of the ages.

Well, we need to hustle here. Peter, James, and John wake up. Luke tells us in verse 32, Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

And as the men were parting from him, so they just woke up right at the tail end of the conversation, which I'm sure they regretted for the rest of their lives. But Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, one for Elijah, not knowing what he said. These three tents Peter suggested here are little booths the Jewish people built during the Feast of Booths or the Feast of Tabernacles. It commemorated annually their wilderness wandering and God's provision, and it also anticipated the coming messianic kingdom.

So as far as Peter's concerned, this has got to be it. The kingdom's here. Everybody's bright, shining. So let's just stay up here on the mountain.

Who would want to leave a mountaintop experience? Besides, I can imagine now they realize that Moses and Elijah and the Lord have been talking. What have you been talking about? Wouldn't it be great to hear some stories from Moses? It'd be great to be able to ask him some questions about the recording of that creation account or the giving of the law or leading the nation Israel out of Egypt and those plagues. I would have a lot of questions.

I'd love to ask him. Or Elijah, what was it like to run from Jezebel? What was it like to outrun Ahab's chariot? What was it like to have a fiery chariot appear and whisk you away without dying to heaven?

I mean, that would charge my spiritual batteries, frankly. And Peter's ready to settle down and start the conversation going and maybe even get some answers. Then we're told something happens rather suddenly, verse 34. And as he, Peter, was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. I can imagine this cloud enveloped them.

In a moment, a voice is going to speak from within it, the same voice of God the Father who affirmed the Lord at his baptism. But this isn't just some low-hanging cloud that's floated in. This is the pillar of cloud that guided Israel out of Egypt, Exodus chapter 13. This was the cloud that appeared to the nation Israel in the wilderness, Exodus 16.

This is the cloud of God's presence that descended and filled the temple at its dedication, 1 Kings chapter 8. This is the vehicle, this is the presence of God, and we're about to hear the Father's voice. Luke adds here in verse 35, And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my Son, my Chosen One, listen to him. And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.

Everything just went back to the Lord looking like he normally looked, and Moses and Elijah are gone, the cloud's gone, and the disciples are just standing there looking at each other like, What just happened? Listen to him. Third person is used here, making it clear his command is for the disciples. You, disciples, listen to Jesus.

It's a good reminder, they never forgot, I'm sure. You're going to hear a lot of voices in your world. Test everything you hear against his word. His word is the final authority. Don't be led astray. Listen to him. Are you saved?

Are you searching? Listen to him. He said, I am the way, the truth, and the life. Are you wandering? Are you weary? Listen to him. Come to me if you're weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Are you troubled? Listen to him. I will never leave you nor forsake you. Moses thought he was alone. Elijah thought he was the only one left. Peter, James, and John are eventually going to believe the worst and go back to fishing. But the Lord will keep his word.

Listen to him. The disciples are evidently ready to listen and not talk because we're told here at the end of verse 36. They kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. Now Matthew's account informs us that Jesus told them as they're walking down the mountain to keep this to themselves until after his resurrection. You see, if the disciples had rushed down the mountainside and told everybody about this incredible experience, the nation of Israel would have had one more reason to revolt against Rome and crown Jesus king. He displayed the kingdom glory, but we have some things still yet to happen, like a crucifixion and a resurrection. Besides, it hit me the other disciples would be green with envy. Peter, James, and John might be tempted to add this to their resume. I saw Jesus transfigured.

Moses and Elijah are my new best friends, you know, things like that. It was exciting. It was terrifying.

But it could lead to distraction instead of instruction. As much as they wanted to stay on that mountain, they had to leave it and wait and go back down in the valley where life happens. John, by the way, will later write, after the Lord ascends, very simply, this statement referring to that mountaintop experience. He writes this, we, not I, but we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. We saw it. We saw it.

But don't build your life on what we've seen. As if to say, place your faith and your trust in who he is and what he has said. He is full of grace and he always tells the truth. And one day, we who believe in him, though we do not see him, will. We will literally live surrounded by the blazing glory of God, our bodies transformed, emitting this same dazzling brilliant light as we live in the kingdom of our King. Thank you, Father, for your Word and this brief display of your glory.

In your plan, you allowed them to see it. And we still have to wait. So like Moses, who waited his entire life, and Elijah, even these disciples who would go back down into the valley and along with the others, serve you. As we leave this mountaintop experience of the assembly, which is so sweet and so encouraging and exhilarating, help us to leave with this command from you, our Father, to listen to the Word of God. We pray it all in Jesus' name.

Amen. If you have any doubts or concerns as to whether or not your eternity will be in glory, we want to help you. You can know for certain that heaven is your eternal home, and we have a resource to assist you.

We call it God's Wisdom for Your Heart. It won't take you long to read, but it'll explain the message of the Gospel and how you can respond to that message. Visit wisdomonline.org forward slash gospel. Stephen is the president of Shepherds Theological Seminary. Shepherds Seminary is equipping and training pastors and Christian leaders for a lifetime of service. But even if you don't feel called to full-time Christian ministry, Shepherds Theological Seminary can equip you to better understand God's Word.

You can study online right where you live. If you navigate to our website, wisdomonline.org, and then scroll to the bottom of the page, there's a link to Shepherds Theological Seminary where you can learn more. Join us next time for more Wisdom for the Heart. .
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-25 23:45:27 / 2023-02-25 23:53:58 / 9

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