"Before Your Crucifixion, O Lord, and in order that Your chief Disciples might not be afraid of Your sufferings, the mountain became as heaven, and, like a tabernacle, the cloud spread itself out, when You were transfigured, illumining them with bright rays of Your power, and the Father bore witness to You."
This feast day is celebrated by Christians worldwide. Three Apostles were chosen to witness the event on Mt. Tabor, where Jesus revealed His glory before His crucifixion. Peter, James and John, fell to the earth powerless to gaze at the sight--a brightness that none can bear, while the voice of the Father bore witness from above, "This is my beloved Son who has come into the world to save mankind." They heard the voice of the Father confirming the mystery of Your incarnation, that even after taking flesh, You remain the only-begotten Son and the Savior of the world.
Present with Jesus, the Christ, was Moses and Elijah, who were talking with Him, the God who spoke of old through the Law and the Prophets.
Moses previously went up to Mount Sinai saying "Show me Thy glory." (Exodus 33:11-23; 34:4-6 8 --the 2nd Vesper reading)"And the Lord said to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and will have compassion on whom I will have compassion," And again He said, "You shall not be able to see My face, for man shall not see My face and live." "And when My glory shall pass by, then I will put you in a cleft on the rock; and I will cover you with My hand, until I pass by. And I will take away My hand, and then you shall see My backside; but My face shall not appear to you.-- Moses worshipped the Lord." (Moses appearance on Mt Tabor shows that Jesus is Lord of both the living and the dead).
Your Transfiguration was a Prefiguring of Your Resurrection, O Christ our God, as they beheld on earth the Lord of Glory. Today on Mt. Tabor, O Lord, You have shown the glory of Your divine form.
O Giver of Light, glory to You, for You have come into the world to Save Mankind....
As a personal note, while reading (Exodus 33:23) Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, the passage read: "Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen."
Taken from the Orthodox service of Great Vespers
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