“Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” – John 12:24
“The last enemy to be destroyed is death...Death is swallowed up in victory.” – 1 Corinthians 15:26, 54
"The greater the sin, the greater the mercy, the deeper the death and the brighter the rebirth.” - C. S. Lewis
"This story...has the very taste of primary truth." - J. R. R. Tolkien

Friday, November 28, 2008

Matthew 17:1-8: Moses and Elijah, pt. 2

...Perhaps most importantly, the Jews expected the return of Elijah and of a prophet like Moses (Keener 278, Carson 385). The prophet Malachi wrote “See, I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes” (Malachi 4:5). As Jesus and the disciples later descend the mountain (vv. 9-13), Jesus says, “Elijah comes and will restore all things. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him” (vv. 11-12) and Matthew notes that “the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist” (v. 13, cf. also Matthew 11:14, Luke 1:17). Matthew wrote of John the Baptist earlier in his gospel, saying “this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight’”” (3:3). Like Elijah, John was a lone faithful voice preaching the need for repentance (Stuart 1394). Elijah, then, is the eschatological “restorer” of all things and the forerunner of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus.

Jewish eschatological expectation also included a hope for the coming of the prophet like Moses mentioned in Deuteronomy 18:15-18. The Father’s words “listen to him” were almost certainly written (and spoken) in light of this important Old Testament prophecy. Jesus, then, is the prophet like Moses1, the “new Moses.” The radiance of his face and entire being also attests to this connection when seen in light of Moses’ radiant face in Exodus 33 (see above).

Lastly, Moses and Elijah probably represented the law and the prophets (Carson 385), respectively. Craig Blomberg writes that “they were the key representatives of the law and prophets, they lived through the two major periods of Old Testament miracles, they were key messianic forerunners whose return was often expected with the advent of the Messiah” (Blomberg 263)...

1 Luke records the words of Peter shortly after Pentecost, “Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you’” (Acts 3:22). Peter clearly says that Jesus is the prophet like Moses.

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