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The Transfiguration: Three Kinds of White?

G. Campbell Morgan

The accounts of the transfiguration vary somewhat, and this is doubtless due to the different impression made upon the minds of the men who beheld the vision, and told the story to the evangelists. Yet in the differences there is unity. Matthew describes the change that passed over Him as one of light: "His face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as the light."

Mark gives the impression of snow: "His garments became glistering, exceeding white." The word "glistering" suggests the sparkling of the snow as light falls upon it.

Luke writes, "His raiment became white and dazzling," the word "dazzling" suggesting the blinding light of the lightning's flash.

That which is common to all the descriptions is the thought of whiteness and of light. "White as light" says Matthew's story. "White as snow glistering in the light" is Mark's utterance. Not as light merely, not even as snow glistering upon the mountain heights, but as lightning flashing forth in glory, dazzling in its brilliancy, is Luke's account.

The one fact of white light is here declared in threefold statement—the beneficence of light, the purity of snow, the majesty of lightning.

Adapted from The Crises of the Christ, Book IV, Chapter XVI, by G. Campbell Morgan.

Originally published September 13, 2010.

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