Altar – ations
“And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered…” - Lk. 9:29.
It is interesting to consider from the scripture the things that have been altered in conjunction with, or in relation to prayer. Some have been external, some internal, and many eternal. Alteration is the act or process of altering, the state of being altered, or the result of altering. Prayer changes things, yet not generally our Father’s over all purpose. God is love. Love faileth not, in other words, not driven off course. Most all true Bible students have been amazed at the strange turns in the course of events in answer to prayer. There are also many times that the circumstances as not changed until the people therein are altered in some way, thus fulfilling the purpose for its allowance. Prayer usually serves in bring the sincere prayer-warrior into closer harmony with the purposes of God.
There are many important aspects of our prayer life. One that impresses me is that we have the marvelous privilege therein to be labors together with God.
It is most intriguing to observe the drastic alterations that are yet to take place in answer to prayer in the perfect will of God. “And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightenings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound” – Rev. 8:1-6.
In answer to the prayers of the saints, offered with incense upon the golden altar; the messengers prepare to trumpet forth destructive transformation. The saints offering up their petitions according to the will of God, with the attitude of gratitude, give forth a sweet smelling savor.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man is not overcoming divine reluctance to deliver, but rather laying hold of his willingness to intervene, showing forth his mighty power on our behalf. Believers express in many different way, their cry, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” “Amen, Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
“We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle” Heb. 13:10. Shall we that are under the everlasting covenant, offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name? Oh, Let us go forth unto Him without the carnal camp, bearing his reproach. For He suffered without the gate that He might set, apart unto Himself, His espoused, and present a glorious company, without spot or wrinkle. Such presentation requires some major altering at this altar.
Since Jesus Christ our merciful and faithful high priest has ascended on high, and opened access to the throne room for us, we are urged to go unto him without the camp, but thank God also within the veil. Heb. 13:13 & 6:19.
Altered at the Altar: “But I tell you of a truth, there be some standing here, which shall not taste death, till they see the kingdom of God. And it came to pass about an eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and glistering. And, behold, there talked with him two men, which were Moses and Elias: Who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pass, as they departed from him, Peter said unto Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias: not knowing what he said. While he thus spake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him” – Lk. 9:27-35.
Jesus often went to His Father in prayer, Here we find Him leading others up to pray. Today we still find Him leading true followers up in prayer and worship. This was indeed a special moment. An unexpected change took place while he was in close communion with His Father. Three favored guest from earth was at this astounding event. Then two other companions appeared in glory. These two, Moses and Elijah are heard discussing the accomplishing of His course, the approaching Cross. Not their taking His life from Him but rather His carrying it out to the conclusion. Well, it seems that these three almost missed it. They were asleep, then awakened and amazed to see His glory. Thank God, today, He still awakens us to behold His glory, He has, He is and He will. By beholding His glory we are wonderfully changed. II Cor. 3:18.
It seems that Peter spoke up before he fully woke up, not knowing what to say nor what He said. He knew that it was good to be there, to behold the glory of the Lord. It seems that he wasn’t yet fully able to discern that which is most excellent. Phil. 1:9-11.
The two men communing with Jesus were indeed great men of God. They had finished their course, and reached an elevated state, but they couldn’t do what our merciful and faithful Lord was about to do. It took a spotless lamb to die for the sins of the whole world, tasting death for every man, bearing our sins in his body on the tree. He was making the way for many sons to be brought unto glory.
Peter seemed to be ready to start a construction company, or maybe three, to enshrine equally Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. But the builder of all things is God. Heb. 3:4.
I am so glad to be able to realize the spiritual development in Peter by the time he wrote about this event in second Peter. “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in you hearts” – II Pet. 1:16-19.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” Jude 20,21. We are taught in scripture the changes essential to spiritual construction. We enjoy a personal development of faith that comes by exercise. Such exercise in the Spirit brings progress, growth, development, keeping us receptive and responsive to love divine.
Thank God, that while Peter thus spake, it got cloudy, and out of that cloud rang the message clear and Loud. That transforming word, that it was God’s Son they needed to hear.
Now Elijah, on another mount had sensed the wind, the earthquake, and the fire but he was moved on in God’s will by a still small voice. Are we listening? Elijah and Moses are both great examples of alterations taking place in answer to prayer. Read James 5:17-18.
Peter, James and John had heard Jesus speak on earth and wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth. Soon we will hear Him speak from heaven. John records Jesus’ words; “…He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life…The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live…the hour is coming, in the which all that are in graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth…” Jn. 5:24-29. The Lord Himself is soon to descend with a shout, and we shall ascend to meet him in the air. When that trumpet sounds we shall be changed in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. GLORY!!