Mount Transfiguration

['Temple' Priesthood Restoration]

presented by Don R. Hender

    There are a number of scriptural accounts of 'meetings' with God upon high mountains. Today we set our temples generally upon elevated locations, but not always. But for sure there is a coorelation between the mountain top meetings of men with God and the meetings with God which men have had in the Temples of the Lord. In fact the name title 'The Mountain of the House of the Lord' is quite appropriate to so describe a temple. And there are a number of parallels to be derived from such 'meetings' of men with God in both settings such as on mountain tops and in temples.

There are a number of mountain and hill tops of notibility in the scriptures. There is Mount Moriah in the land of Moriah upon which Abraham did go to sacrifice his son Isaac according to the instructions of the Lord (Genesis 22:2). And there is the temple mount in Jerusalem (2 Chr. 3:1), which the Jews like to make the same as being the Mount Moriah of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, but then where was the city of Salem of Melchizedek located? I've also been taught that that was the same as Jerusalem in Abraham's day. Both cannot be the same. But that is appart from the point here. We are speaking of 'mountains' of the Lord, that is the Lord's House which are the same.

Now in the land of Ephraim there are sacred mountains as well. There is Mount Ebal to the north of Shecham and Mount Gerizim lying to the south. Joshua in a great meeting explained to Israel the cursing that would fall upon Israel if they disobeyed the commandments of God (Joshua 3:32-35) and a great altar was to be there Joshua 8:30-31). Those two mounts were the highest points of the 'hill' or 'mountain' range lands of Mount Ephraim which did also extend down to include the foothill mounts about Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Of course in Moses' day there was Mount Sinai (?Horeb) as well as such 'foothill' mounts upon which Moses did converse with the Lord prior as a 'burning burn' and etcetera. And there is the mount where Moses meet to overlook where Israel would enter into the land of promise and he Moses would not.

The actual mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 16:13-18; 17:1-9) was probably Mount Hermon or perhaps Mount Tabor. In either case, this is a 'high place' where the meeting place was where the promised keys of the priesthood were given to Peter, James and John (HC 3:387).

And then there is the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane were the actual meeting place was of the actual sacrifice of the Lord's atonement. And there is Mount Tabor and about the Sea of Galilee the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus may have delivered his sermon on the mount, that great meeting then.

And then what about Mount Zion? Is that Jerusalem or is it the tops of the Mountains in America? And then also, it was upon a mount that Mahonri Moriancumr did seek and seen the spirit body of Jesus Christ, that is Jehovah.

The point is not which mount is which but that often in scriptural history the 'House of God' and the 'Mountain of God' is reserved as a meeting place between man and God.

Now as for the Mount of Transfiguration, we are told that it was a meeting place where the necessary priesthood keys were set upon Peter, James and John by those in authority appearing in glory and that Peter, James and John were not merely spectators as most artist would portray. Also, if this was like the bestowal of keys like unto the restoration of keys in the latter days, there is speculation that others beside Jesus, Elias as Elijah and Moses were also present. Joseph Smith adds John the Baptist in the JST. Elias as Gabriel or Noah would also be expected to attend as he did in the temple at Kirtland. Certainly all these persons were accounted for during the restitution of the gospel, priesthood and keys over the course of the returning of the Church of Jesus Christ to the earth in these latter days.

Yes, shrouted high on a mountain top in clouds, for a structure of walls and doors was not there in the open air to be had, the keys of the priesthood authority were passed for the establishment and administration of the kingdom of God on earth. Not all has ever been told concerning it but a meager morsel of information. Beyond Jesus, Moses and Elijah were others. Even the voice of God the Father was to be heard in the midst. As was Moses on Mt. Sinai glorified and transfigured before the presence of God, so were Jesus and his chief apostles to so endure the presence of the appearing glories. And though under but the skies of heaven, it was not unlike the restoration of keys by Jesus Christ, Moses, Elias and Elijah at that like meeting in the housed then holy temple of Kirtland, Ohio where Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery were also endowed by the powers of heaven to administer the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the kingdom of God on earth.