The XX – VCR
The Bible’s a funny thing. You can read it and read it and read it again, and it seems like there is something new to discover all the time. Such was the case for me this week.
First off, I think I’ve found out who I would want to be if I could be anyone from the Old Testament. It would have to be Elijah. He got to do loads of cool stuff. Showdowns with false prophets. Fed by birds. Calling down fire from heaven. Hearing the whisper of God. More fire from heaven. Skips out on dying… just whisked away to heaven on a fiery chariot.
Ok, so that’s all stuff that I more or less knew. But what stood out to me on this go around were the similarities between Elijah and Moses. Not sure why I didn’t see it before. The author of 1 and 2 Kings is more or less screaming it. A journey that takes forty units of time (years for Moses and days for Elijah). Elijah’s journey ends at Horeb. The same place where Moses and the Israelites journey began. It is at Horeb that Moses is allowed to see the glory of the Lord. Presumably at the very same cave, Elijah hears the gentle whisper of God. They both have water parting experiences. There is more, but that’s the obvious stuff.
In case that’s not coincidence enough, there is also this little episode in the gospels called “the transfiguration.” Yet another incident involving a mountain (which is curiously un-named) and the glory of God being revealed. And who do we find there? None other than Moses and Elijah. Oh yeah, and Jesus.
What do you think? Maybe the gospel writers are trying to make a point? Moses and Elijah were both present to see the glory of God in a way that no one else had in Israel’s history. And now that story is evoked all over again. This time not to tell us something about Moses or Elijah, but to reveal something about who Jesus is. Maybe it is saying that when Moses and Elijah were on the mountain before and they got to see God (just a little bit), they were in fact seeing Jesus. Or more certainly, when they see Jesus, they are in fact having the full-disclosure of God… not just God’s back or a whisper… but God in full view.
No idea how I missed all that before. You would think that they might have made mention of that in one of the several graduate school courses I had on the Bible. Maybe they figured it was so obvious that it didn’t need pointing out.
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
2 Corinthians 4:6