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.
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(9) Tell the vision to no man.—The command obviously included even the rest of the Apostles within the range of its prohibition. For them in their lower stage of spiritual growth, the report of the vision at second hand would either have led them to distrust it or to pervert its meaning. Whatever reasons excluded them from being spectators were of still greater weight for the time against their hearing of what had been seen from others. The Greek word for “vision,” it may be noted, means simply “what they had seen,” and does not suggest, as the English word does, the thought of a dream-state in the beholders.

Matthew 17:9. Jesus charged them — Tell the vision to no man — Not to the rest of the disciples, lest they should be grieved and discouraged because they were not admitted to the sight; nor to any other persons, lest it should enrage some the more, and his approaching sufferings should make others disbelieve it. “He knew,” says Macknight, “that the world, and even his own disciples, were not yet capable of comprehending the design of his transfiguration, nor of the appearing of Moses and Elias; and that if this transaction had been published before his resurrection, it might have appeared incredible, because hitherto nothing but afflictions and persecutions had attended him.” Till the Son of man be risen again — Till the resurrection shall make it credible, and confirm your testimony about it. Accordingly we learn from Mark and Luke, that they kept the matter close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen. They questioned, however, one with another, what the rising from the dead should mean, Mark 9:10. They had never heard from the doctors that the Messiah was to die, far less that he was to be raised from the dead. On the contrary, they thought he was to abide for ever, John 12:34, and that there was to be no end of his kingdom; wherefore they were utterly at a loss to understand what their Master meant when he spake of his rising again; and being afraid to ask a particular explication of the matter, they disputed much among themselves about it to no purpose.

17:1-13 Now the disciples beheld somewhat of Christ's glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. It was intended to support their faith, when they would have to witness his crucifixion; and would give them an idea of the glory prepared for them, when changed by his power and made like him. The apostles were overcome by the glorious sight. Peter thought that it was most desirable to continue there, and to go no more down to meet the sufferings of which he was so unwilling to hear. In this he knew not what he said. We are wrong, if we look for a heaven here upon earth. Whatever tabernacles we propose to make for ourselves in this world, we must always remember to ask Christ's leave. That sacrifice was not yet offered, without which the souls of sinful men could not have been saved; and important services were to be done by Peter and his brethren. While Peter spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, an emblem of the Divine presence and glory. Ever since man sinned, and heard God's voice in the garden, unusual appearances of God have been terrible to man. They fell prostrate to the earth, till Jesus encouraged them; when looking round, they beheld only their Lord as they commonly saw him. We must pass through varied experiences in our way to glory; and when we return to the world after an ordinance, it must be our care to take Christ with us, and then it may be our comfort that he is with us.Tell the vision to no man - This vision was designed particularly to confirm them in the truth that he was the Messiah. While he was with them it was unnecessary that they should relate what they had seen. When he was crucified they would need this evidence that he was the Christ. Then they were to use it. There were three witnesses of it as many as the law required Deuteronomy 17:6; Hebrews 10:28, and the proof that he was the Messiah was clear. Besides, if they had told it then, it would have provoked the Jews and endangered his life. His time was not yet come.

Vision - Sight; appearance. What they had seen on the mount.

Charged them - Gave them a commandment.

The sole design of this transfiguration was to convince them that he was the Christ; that he was greater than the greatest of the prophets; that he was the Son of God.

Mark adds Mark 9:10, "they kept that saying with themselves, questioning one with another what the rising from the dead should mean." The Pharisees believed that the dead would rise, and there is no doubt that the disciples believed it; but their views were not clear, and, in particular, they did not understand what he meant by his rising from the dead. They do not appear to have understood, though he had told them Mark 12:40 that he would rise after three days.


Mt 17:1-13. Jesus Is Transfigured—Conversation about Elias. ( = Mr 9:2-13; Lu 9:28-36).

For the exposition, see on [1321]Lu 9:28-36.

Mark saith the same, Mark 9:9. Luke saith, Luke 9:36, They kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen. The other two evangelists record the precept; Luke and Mark, their obedience to it. The most probable reason of this charge given by interpreters is, lest his after sufferings should have shaken again their faith, as to the Divine nature of Christ, before he was by his resurrection from the dead declared to be the Son of God with power, as the apostle speaks, Romans 1:4.

And as they came down from the mountain,.... Where all these things had been transacted,

Jesus charged them, saying, tell the vision to no man: by the "vision" is meant, as it is explained in Mark, "what things they had seen"; as Moses and Elias, and the bright cloud that overshadowed them, and Christ transfigured before them, in a surprising, glorious manner. These Christ strictly ordered Peter, James, and John, to speak of to no man whatever; no, not their fellow disciples; who either would be apt to disbelieve them, on account of the greatness of them, as Thomas did the resurrection of Christ afterwards; or lest they should be troubled and displeased, that they were not admitted to the same sight; and especially not to the multitude, or to any other person,

until the son of man be risen again from the dead; meaning himself and his resurrection, when such proof would be given of his mission, authority, and glory, which would make this account more easy to be believed: besides, he had told the Jews, that no sign, that is, from heaven, as this voice was, should be given, but the sign of the Prophet Jonas; referring to his resurrection, which would be a sure testimony of the truth of his Messiahship. This order of Christ was strictly observed by the disciples; for Luke, says, "they kept it close"; to themselves, in their own breasts; it lay concealed between these three; "and told no man in those days, any of those things which they had seen": and Mark says, "they kept that saying within themselves"; only as he adds, they were "questioning one with another, what the rising from the dead should mean": for they were not yet reconciled to the Messiah's dying, which was contrary to their expectation of a temporal kingdom; and therefore could not tell what to make of his rising again, whether this had not some secret, mystical meaning; for of his resurrection from the dead, in a literal sense, they had no notion; though it was foretold in the writings of the Old Testament, and had been so lately affirmed by Christ himself.

And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the {e} vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

(e) Which they saw, otherwise the word used in this place is usually used in referring to that which is seen in a dream.

Matthew 17:9. Ὅραμα] the thing seen, spectaculum. Acts 7:31; Sir 43:1; Xen. Cyr. iii. 3. 66; de re equestr. ix. 4; Dem. 1406. 26; Pollux, ii. 54; used in the LXX. with reference to whatever is seen in vision by a prophet.

ἐκ νεκρῶν] from Sheol, as the abode τῶν νεκρῶν. On the omission of the article, see Winer, p. 117 [E. T. 153]. The reason of the prohibition can only be the same as in Matthew 16:20, where see note. According to the mythical view (see observations after Matthew 17:12), it was intended to explain the circumstance of a narrative composed in a later age, and, nevertheless, one which proceeded from the three witnesses.

Matthew 17:9-13. Conversation while descending the hill.

9. the vision] = “what things they had seen” (Mark); “those things which they had seen” (Luke).

Matthew 17:9. Μηδενὶ, to no one) not even to their fellow-disciples.—ἕως οὗ, κ.τ.λ.,. until, etc.) After His resurrection they did mention it; see 2 Peter 1:18. St Matthew also recorded it, although he had not been present.—ἀναδτῇ, have risen) The glory of the resurrection rendered this previous manifestation more credible.

Verse 9. - As they came down from the mountain. The Transfiguration is supposed to have taken place at night, and the following conversation to have passed in the early morning of the next day. Tell the vision (τὸ ὅραμα, what bad been seen) to no man. This was a strict and formal command. The chosen three were at present not to mention the occurrence to anyone, not even to their fellow disciples. Possibly these would hardly have believed the marvellous tale, and their unbelief would have hardened their heart; or, if they fully credited it, they might have been jealous of the preference shown to some of their company. At any rate, neither they nor others were prepared to receive the great lesson of the scene - that the old covenant had done its work, that the Law and the prophets were superseded and must make way for the new dispensation. Had the story been divulged to the people generally, they would have stumbled at the cross and Passion, which would seem no fitting sequel to this glory (see on Matthew 16:20). Until the Son of man be risen again (ἀναστῇ) from the dead. When this great event happened and was known to be the fact, there could be no doubt that Christ was God, and the tale of the Transfiguration would no longer be incredible. Thomas's confession, "My Lord and my God," would be echoed in the heart and conscience of all disciples. St. Luke, though he does not mention Christ's injunction, notifies that it was carefully observed, "They kept it close, and told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen." (These last words, οὐδὲν ω΅ν ἑώρακαν, explain what St. Matthew above calls "the vision," τὸ ὅραμα, the objective spectacle.) The compliance with the injunction shows that they understood something of the spiritual nature of the transaction. We may also note that the prohibition itself is presumptive evidence against the supposed mythical character of the vision. Matthew 17:9Vision (ὅραμα).

The spectacle.

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