Matthew 17:1-13 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. (2) There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. (3) Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. (4) Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters–one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
On the Mount of Transfiguration the disciples were dumbfounded at what they were shown. They saw the transfigured and glorified Christ with the Old Testament prophets Moses and Elijah—very much alive—speaking with him. Not understand who Jesus actually was, Peter offered to put up three shelters for each of the three—as if Moses and Elijah were on a par with Jesus. But at that very moment the Almighty Father spoke forth from heaven.
(5) While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
God Himself identified Jesus as being far greater than Moses and Elijah. They were to obey him.
(6) When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. (7) But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” (8) When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Moses and Elijah were gone, leaving Jesus.
(9) As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” (10) The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
According to Malachi below, the prophet Elijah would appear before the coming of the Messiah—“the great and dreadful day of the LORD.”
Malachi 4:5 “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes.
Since they had not yet seen Elijah re-appear, Jesus could not be the promised Messiah.
Matthew 17:11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things. (12) But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” (13) Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
The appearance of John the Baptist was a fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy about the coming of Elijah. Therefore Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah who would appear on “that great and dreadful day of the Lord.”
Malachi’s prophecy about the coming of Elijah is going to be fulfilled a second time—before the Second Coming of the Messiah. We believe we are now in those days preceding the Second Coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ. We are today seeing the restoration of the spirit and power of Elijah to the Church to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Today the Holy Spirit is raising up disciples who can proclaim the kingdom of God to the gospel-resistant with the boldness and power with which Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel thousands of years ago. We can do this with the authority and power over disease and demons which Jesus Christ has entrusted to the Church to show the world that our God is the only true God, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to Him (Luke 9:1-2).