Q&A: Did Moses have a glorified body at the Transfiguration?

Did Moses have a glorified body at the Transfiguration?

Question

If we only receive new bodies at the Second Coming, then how did Moses have his glorified body at the Transfiguration?

Answer

Matthew 17:1-3 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.

Paul eloquently speaks of the "imperishable [incorruptible] body" being at the second coming (1 Cor. 15:51-54; cf. 2 Cor. 5:2-4). So, I maintain that Moses and Elijah could not have had glorified bodies at the Transfiguration. And I believe that Matthew agrees because when he writes that Jesus was transfigured, he doesn't say that Moses or Elijah had transfigured bodies.

We must also realize that what was seen at the time of the Transfiguration on the mountain was a vision: "And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 'Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead'" (Matt. 17:9). The word "vision" comes from the Greek word horao meaning to "see," "observe," or "perceive." Thus the transfiguration was a glimpse of the glory that awaited Jesus at his resurrection (cf. Luke 24:26; Heb. 2:9; 1 Pet. 1:21). And because of the power of Jesus' resurrection the disciples also saw a glimpse of the future glory of both Moses and Elijah in vision form (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12, 23, et. al.).

So no, I don't believe that Matthew is literally speaking of Moses and Elijah as already having glorified bodies before the second coming.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).