Our fellowship to the Father will be its closest when we are absented of the “old man” and the mortal body (Rom 8:11). But His fellowship to us is the same now as it will be when we are finally in His presence. It is not as assuring to know how He is taking us through this life as it is just to know He is ever with us, now and forever (Matthew 28:20; Heb 13:5); not in His presence, which is in heaven, but in His Holy Spirit, Who has eternally united us with Him. So, let us appropriate the security and the joy of the Spirit’s presence in us, through Whom the Father provides all things (2Pe 1:3)!
Our Joy Now and Forever
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2Pe 1:16).
We have the warrant of Peter, and eyewitness, for saying that the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration represents to us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ; and this is what we wait for. Our souls are not really in a healthy state unless we are waiting for God’s Son from heaven. The Church is not well regulated in its hopes by the Word and Spirit of God, unless it is looking for His return from heaven (Phl 3:20, 21).
Our purpose is to consider what light the Transfiguration scene affords us on the nature of that joy we shall inherit at and from the coming of our Lord at the Rapture. Other Scriptures, such as the promises to those who overcome in Revelation 2 and 3, and the description of the heavenly city in Revelation 21 and 22, give us instruction on the same subject; but let us now particularly look at the scene on the holy mount.
“And it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, that He took Peter, James and John, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as He prayed, the appearance of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistening” (Lu 9:28, 29). It was when the Lord Jesus was in the acknowledgement of dependence—“as He prayed”—that this change took place. This, then, is the first thing we have here—a change such as will pass upon the living saints when the Lord Jesus comes.
“And behold, there talked with Him two men, which were Moses and Elias.” They were with Him, and this will be our joy; we shall ever be with the Lord Jesus. In 1Thes 4, after stating the order in which the resurrection of the sleeping, and the change of the living saints will take place, and that we shall both be caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, all that the Apostle says as to what shall ensue is, “and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” But in this passage there is not only the being with Christ, but there is also familiar fellowship with Him. “There talked with Him two men.”
It is not that He talked with them, though that was no doubt true; but that might have been, and they be at a distance. But when we read that they talked with Him, we get the idea of the most free and personal communion. Peter and the others knew what it was to have such fellowship with the Lord Jesus in His humiliation; and what joy must it have been to have this proof that such conversation with Him would be enjoyed in glory! They share in the same glory as that in which He was manifested.
So, as to us, “When Christ who is our Life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory.” “the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one: I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me” (Jhn 17:22, 23).
But there is another thing still. We are not only told that they were with Him, that they talked with Him, and appeared in glory with Him, but we are also privileged to know the subject of their conversation. They “spoke of His decease which He should accomplish at Jerusalem.” It was the Cross which was the theme of their conversation in the glory—the sufferings of Christ which He had to accomplish at Jerusalem. Surely this will be our joy throughout eternity, when in glory with the Lord Jesus—to dwell upon this subject, His decease accomplished on the Cross at Jerusalem.
“While He thus spoke, there came a cloud and overshadowed them; and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is My beloved Son: hear Him.” Peter tells us that this voice came from the excellent glory. “For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (2Pe 1:17).
Now Peter and the others had entered into the cloud; and thus we get this wonderful fact that in the glory, from which the voice comes, saints are privileged to stand, and there, in that glory, share the delight of the Father in His beloved Son. Not only are we called to the fellowship of the Father’s Son, Jesus Christ, but we are called to have fellowship with the Father. We are admitted of God the Father to partake of His satisfaction in His beloved Son.
“And when the voice was passed, Jesus was found alone.” The vision is gone—the cloud, the voice, the glory, Moses and Elias—but the Lord Jesus was left, and they were left to go on their way with Him, knowing Him now in the light of those scenes of glory which they had beheld; and this is the use to us of those vivid apprehensions of spiritual things which we may sometimes realize.
It is not that we can be always enjoying them and nothing else. But when for the season they have passed away, like this vision on the Mount of Transfiguration, they leave us alone with the Lord Jesus, to pursue the path of our pilgrimage with Him in spirit now, and with Him in the light and power of the deepening acquaintance with Him, and fellowship of the Father’s joy in Him, that we have got on the mount; and thus to wait for the moment of His return for us, when all this, and more than our hearts can think of, shall be fulfilled to us forever.
—J N Darby
MJS “None but the Hungry Heart” online devotional for 10-21:
“ABIDE IN ME, AND I IN YOU. AS THE BRANCH CANNOT BEAR FRUIT OF ITSELF, EXCEPT IT ABIDE IN THE VINE, NO MORE CAN YE, EXCEPT YE ABIDE IN ME” (JOHN 15:4).
A barren life means barren service, and no amount of self-effort will ever make up for that!
“‘Not I, but Christ.’ The Lord Jesus does not ask that we should work for Him, but He intends to work through us. There is all the difference in the world between the two. In the one I plan and then ask His blessing upon it; in the other He plans and lets me into the secret of His glorious purpose. The one ends in futility and disappointment; the other in life, progress, and joy.
“In the one I slave and work worthily for Him, and constantly feel the barrenness of a busy life; in the other I let His life flow through me in all His glorious effortlessness, and rest in the assurance that the Lord Jesus at work cannot fail. The one is a life of endeavor, always being keyed up to do something greater; the other a life of faith always looking to the Lord Jesus to reveal the next step and then give the enablement to carry it out.” -H.G.
“The great question is not what you are doing, how successful you are, how great are your crowds, how impressive your work—but the question is, by what power are you doing it? It is difficult to attend any large religious gathering without perceiving the governing influence, consciously or unconsciously, of the psychological—which is of the human. Many apparently successful ‘revival’ meetings have much more in them of psychology than Spirit. Large numbers of seekers are brought to the altar by human soul-power rather than by the power of the Holy Spirit. And this accounts for the large number of so-called backsliders and ‘repeaters’ at the altar.”
“WITHOUT ME YE CAN DO NOTHING” (JOHN 15:5).