"From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day. Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You." But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me."For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. "For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds. "Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom." Six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. The Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!" When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified. And Jesus came to them and touched them and said, "Get up, and do not be afraid." And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one except Jesus Himself alone. As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded them, saying, "Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man has risen from the dead." And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" And He answered and said, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him, but did to him whatever they wished. So also the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist."
The above passage I have always found interesting. I have commented on this in my blog before. A friend of mine has read some material that suggested that the main image of Jesus is of an apocalyptic prophetic messiah. This is a view that both fundamentalist and liberal scholars seem to agree upon. The issue is that there is a verse embedded in this passage and in similar passages in the synoptic gospels that suggests that Jesus expected to return within the lifetime of the generation of people present around him. Fundamentalist scholarship kind of does a time stretch on this verse, like a day for god is like a thousand years, and skips over the literalness of "some of you standing here will not taste death". All the people of this time period, with the exception of possible humans who attained physical immortality, have long since passed on, and yet the "second coming of Jesus" has not yet happened. Liberals assume that Jesus made a prophetic mistake.
My own understanding is that there was a document called the Q document and that the Greek Matthew Gospel was compiled by some scholar and editor who synthesized the Q document with as Aramaic Matthew, and, quite probably, other documents. Later on, paragraph breaks were placed in the manuscript that would tell the narrative according to an orthodox Christian interpretation that was becoming dominant over time. But the dividing the narrative between chapter 16 and 17, I feel, was a mistake, that the answer to the "some of you standing here will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming into his kingdom" is present in the next chapter, in the event called in later Christian tradition by "the transfiguration". This is where Jesus turns his physical body into a light body. In New Age spirituality, this has been called a "light episode". It is an evolutionary forerunner to a state of being and consciousness that will eventually be more permanent to us. Life tends to not drop a new state of being upon us all at once. Everything in nature grows and evolves, step by step, and Jesus is no different.
He would often go up to the mountains to "pray". It is clear to me that this is a code word for a meditation process. Theistically oriented religions tend to use "prayer" rather than "meditation", but it is clear that they are similar. Jesus talks about going into an "inner closet" and to "not use many words". I do feel that it was a breathing process. One verse talks of "praying continually in the breath (pneuma)" and I Thessalonians 5:16-17 to "rejoice always, pray without ceasing". With the Aramaic word for god, "Abwoon" being a breathing mantra ("Ah" on the inhale and "Bwoon" on the exhale as a whisper chant riding the breath), there is a method that is described that is very quick and powerful to attain a result. Swami Yogananda felt that this verse did refer to something akin to Kriya Kundalini Pranayama, especially because it leads to "rejoicing always".
One book that I read talked about the desert mountains being bio-electrically charged, having lots of ionized plasma. This would explain the "burning bush" that Moses saw and why it would be wise to "take off sandals" (to ground oneself) and why the bush did not actually burn (being a plasma glow rather than a real fire). It would be ideal to absorb highly charged prana for evolutionary prayer, though any circumstance would work. The disciples ask Jesus how to pray. Conventional Christian and Jewish prayer has been mainly about throwing words up at god and they observe Jesus doing something different. It is likely that they noticed his breathing changing and his body undergoing first relaxation and then cellular change. It is clear that conventional prayer is not what he was doing and that whatever he did was visibly different. It is also clear that whatever he was doing needed some teaching to learn. Throwing up words to god does not really need any kind of educational process.
When the body of Jesus turns into light, he meets and talks with Moses and Elijah. It used to puzzle me why they would appear, but it seems that Moses used Egyptian Alchemy to attain his light body and that the "manna from heaven" was part of this process. Elijah used a "merkabah" meditation to do the same. Jesus is adding a third method using "the holy breath". This shows that Judaism has within itself valid transformational methods. The methods are a little esoteric and not commonly known, but they are represented in this meeting on the mount of transfiguration.
What the passage shows is that the "kingdom of god" is a kingdom of light. The "son of man" is the next mutation in the human species. The word "son" being the offspring of the present generation. It is a valid evolutionary term given the language of the time. There is no evolutionary biological science and terminology to reference and so it is a decent metaphor given the choices. Jesus shows the mutation to show it is not merely an idea, but something verifiable. It is a kind of science.
The fear that the disciples feel is understandable. It is a primate attachment to a solid world. When the entire physical world is seen as a creation from a cloud of luminous intelligent quantum energy it is usually a little terrifying. There is nothing to fear, but it is an unknown when the shift first happens. Even friends who have meditated for a while and who have felt a light episode or felt a higher being appear before them, fear sometimes arises. Part of meditation is learning to release this primate reflex. In the Heart Sutra of the Buddha, the teaching of "emptiness" is given. It has to do with opening up a Quantum vision of the universe, both outwardly and physically, and internally and psychologically. It has to do with seeing everything being nonsubstantial, nongraspable, and nonseparate.
From this view, the crucifixion of Jesus is a scientific process of showing how this quantum vision can overcome conventional death. It is why Saint Paul talks about the resurrection as being the key to Christianity. If the atonement theory is correct, then the crucifixion pays the price and the resurrection is less necessary. But if victory over death is key, then the resurrection is the key. The beauty of this kind of interpretation is that it becomes a scientific demonstration that the "holy breath" can heal everything. The event does not need to have any exotic interpretations involving angry gods, sin, wrath, and human sacrifices. Jesus has confidence in his prayer process, because of the transfiguration, and can envision surviving death itself. It would make sense if he was feeling the very cells of his body transform in this experience.
The phrase "come after me" is interesting in the above passage, because it suggests that we are meant to follow the mutation process, to crucify the old self and resurrect into a new being. It is also clear that the new being sees life differently, that ordinary human concerns are no longer relevant, especially the usual fear of death and how to guard one's life. Peter is rebuked for not understanding the immensity of what wants to happen. There is talk of "losing one's life to find it". The process of "losing" and "finding" is outlined in the example of Jesus who does lose his conventional life to find a resurrected one. In other words, the mutation process is pointed to in all these metaphors. In I Corinthians Chapter 15, there is a clear hint of cellular transformation. If you take in what has been shared above and look at the passage, you can see how I am feeling confirmed:
I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. But when He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him. all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all. Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why then are they baptized for them? I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead are not raised, LET US EAT AND DRINK, FOR TOMORROW WE DIE. Do not be deceived: "Bad company corrupts good morals." Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God I speak this to your shame. But someone will say, "How are rthe dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?" You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL " The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.Behold I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord."
The above passage is sometimes related to the second coming, but the context that I am sharing is a little different. There is a talk of some kind of cellular change (flesh). Different kinds of flesh differ in "glory" (energy, radiance). The ordinary physical body undergoes change from perishable to imperishable. It becomes a light (heavenly) body.
There are a lot of other passages I could quote that fit into this framework, like Jesus being "the first fruit of those raised from the dead" with the expectation of more to come and a mass mutation to the next evolutionary step ("the second coming"). What I would suggest is to try to go back to this time period and see what it would mean to try to speak of a quantum biological mutation in our species, beyond aging and death as we know it, that involves a breathing pranayama prayer. You do not have the language of evolutionary biology to draw from, no Quantum physics, and no biofeedback machines to register what the cellular change is about. You do the best that you can. You demonstrate the mutation in your own body, more than once. You do feel it is "soon" in biological time and geological time, because you feel this process working inside yourself and wanting to happen in others. But you do not know "the time or the hour" of the actual transformation. But you do predict that "some of you will not taste death" before they see you demonstrating "entering the kingdom" by turning your body into light.
I want to add one more point here which is beyond scholarship. The reason why I do feel that this interpretation is probably true is because my own body has undergone many light shifts. They have happened when I have been in meditation. They fit the teachings that I have discerned inside the New Testament, though much has come from Buddhism and Zen meditation. For instance, in meditation, "the holy breath" will call to remembrance everyone and anyone with whom we hold resentment towards. We are meant to forgive very deeply everyone until we truly learn to "love our enemies" and "resist not evil". This process is far deeper than I think people realize and is enough to create some light body shifts inside us. It burns away a massive amount of karma. It is why the "Lord's prayer" is so integral to transformation. It deeply emphasizes forgiveness as a karma eraser. Jesus also gives the evolutionary key to forgiveness in one of the lines he says from the cross, "Abwoon, forgive them for they know not what they do." This short verse has a lot of levels of meaning. It is the only verse in the entire Bible that explains "why forgive". It locates the cause of sin, not in willful disobedience, but in unconscious ignorance (like the Buddha). It also shows that the desire for vengeance is very strong in humans, so much that Jesus, who normally just forgives, must ask the holy breath to forgive for him. This is psychologically brilliant. What this means is that forgiveness realigns us with unconditional love, which does not need any wrath, sacrifice, and atonement to forgive anyone for anything. You simply release the condemnation. You see that people do not know what they are doing, that they are innocent and unconscious, and therefore can be accepted and forgiven. It fits with Jesus quoting the OT a few times and saying, "I desire mercy and not sacrifice". The phrase about forgiving unconscious ignorance, too, is something I meditator would need to know at a certain part of their process. Our own anger is crucifying us all the time and this is the way out.
In terms of scholarship, I do not have a massive stake in any view being right. What I can share is the Jesus the healer and light being is what I see and read in the verses. This Jesus has been a guide for me in my own process and I have found a lot of stories and passages very relevant to my own transformation, and that I have experienced light episodes a number of times, and even had a few of them witnessed by others. I can make them happen through intention to a certain extent, but I am not, as yet, masterful enough to simply surge my face like the sun as Jesus and Moses did. When I tried to show my right hand turning into light to a friend who needed a demonstration, I was successful, but I found I had a blood sugar crash shortly afterwards and needed to eat a lot of crackers to recover from it. There is a biological side to this process that I am understanding better over time. I do feel that it requires us to at least be vegetarian and that Jesus was vegetarian. He may have eaten some fish early in his process, but in his later process even this was probably abandoned. He does not eat the Passover Lamb and he opposes animal sacrifices happening in the temple. It seems that certain herbs and essential oils were helpful to his process.
To me, I can and do accept that the Bible is a kind of scrap book with lots of stuff. Some of it is inspirational and some of it has to do with tedious lists, historical records of wars, many contradictions between different human authors, and other things. I wish for scholarship to keep evolving and sorting all this out, to discern what is most reliable historically. But I wonder if something might be easier for a meditator to understand and put together. There is a Jesus who taught a wonderful level of love in the Sermon on the Mount and who seems to have undergone a wonderful mutation into a light being. I would like to feel that this has some historical accuracy behind the mish mash process of historical records, compilations, rewritings, and overlays.