The Transfiguration of Jesus

by Joshua Tilghman on March 26, 2013

Transfiguration bloch 241x300 The Transfiguration of JesusThis post continues our series on the esoteric Jesus. So far we’ve seen why he had to come out of Egypt and be baptized. Today’s post will study the esoteric meaning of Jesus’ transfiguration.

We’ll start with Gaskell’s definition:

Transfiguration of Jesus: A symbol of an initiation, and signifying the using or raising of the lower nature in the interest of the higher.

While the transfiguration is one of the easiest initiations to decode, perhaps it shows us more than any other the esoteric nature of Jesus and the Gospels. The symbols are undeniable, and I believe anyone looking closely at the nature of this event would have to admit that it’s more esoteric than exoteric.

Let’s look at the first scripture in the scene.

“After six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John, his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart” (Matt. 17:1).

The first verse is filled with symbolic meaning. I have bolded all of the ones that deserve discussion.

It’s no coincidence that the text tells us this event happened after six days. Biblical numbers are never arbitrary. Six symbolizes a round of growth and accomplishment. We’ll even see this number used again at the crucifixion, another period of conscious growth for Christ. Think about Genesis chapter one. Even though the creation of the world is considered to be seven days, all God’s work of creating took place in six. He rested on the seventh which is the number of perfection.

Next I want you to notice that Jesus only took the famous three, Peter, James and John. These three are the obvious choice for what they represent. They are archetypes for the human soul. Peter, who comes first in the list, represents the natural man. Think of him as the lower mind, or ego. This can be proven from scripture because Jesus rebuked by calling him Satan.

“…get thee behind me, Satan: for thou art an offence to me: for thou savorest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men” (Matt. 16:23).

Natural man, or ego, is always at enmity with God.

Next we have James. He is a symbol of the mental aspect of the soul. Building up the mental qualities of the soul is an important step on the way to enlightenment. The intellect, once sufficiently developed over many incarnations, helps to curb the appetite of the passions and desires of the natural man, or lower mind, when combined with the moral nature. James becomes the unspoken leader of the apostles as well. This can be expected as the consciousness I expresses itself through the mind.

Last we have John. John is the Apostle whom Jesus loved. He represents the love-nature of the higher mind. Think of John as the spiritual influence of the higher moral nature that brings together all the faculties of the soul into unity.

It should make sense to you now that Jesus goes through the transfiguration with the three disciples present who ultimately represent the body, mind, and heart, all of three of which need to go through a change by reflecting the truth of the higher nature. More on this change in a moment.

The last portion of the scripture we studied said Jesus took them up on a high mountain apart. High mountain tops in scripture also always represent the higher planes. As we’ll see, Jesus’ transfiguration represents a reflection of the bright white of truth on the higher planes. The fact that the scripture states it is apart means in isolation, which represents going within one’s self. It is the “kingdom within” that Jesus speaks of.

Let’s now look at the next verse:

“And [Jesus] was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his rainment was as white as the light” (Matt. 17:2).

The face, or countenance of man, is associated with the expression of truth within the higher nature of the soul. His face did shine as the sun because it reflected the truth on the higher planes. Jesus’ clothes were also shining because the outer nature of Jesus now reflected the truth that was within him. The two are in equilibrium, an important juncture on the road to enlightenment. Man must not only know the truth, but his actions on the outside must also reflect that knowledge. As we have already seen, the three disciples, representing body, mind, and heart, now reflect the outward appearance of what Gaskell terms: works, understanding, and love.

The symbols of Moses and Elijah with Jesus in the next verse are as equally important. The scripture states:

“And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias [Elijah] talking with him” (Matt. 17:3).

Moses represents the moral, ethical nature of man. Elijah represents the physical nature. The fact that they both appeared during Jesus’ transfiguration is symbolic of the unity of the god spark, or indwelling spirit of Jesus, with the moral and physical natures of man. In other words, the lower nature of man is being raised up by the higher nature of man. This represents the perfection of the personality and development of the higher spiritual ego. It is the harmonization of the entire being of the soul.

The last scripture I want to discuss is Matthew 17:9:

“And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the son of man be risen again from the dead.”

The esoteric nature of this verse is subtle, but important. Why would Jesus forbid them to tell any man about the vision until after his resurrection? Esoterically, it is because the son of man has not yet become fully the son of God. The perfection of the lower nature is fully shown in its death at the crucifixion and resurrection. This is not meant to be literal, but is figurative of the completed process of the evolution the soul.

In the next post we’ll pick up with the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. In subsequent posts we’ll leave this completion from the son of man to the son of God philosophically and discuss the entire process from a more practical viewpoint with a discussion of kundalini in the Book of Revelations.


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