The angel appears to the shepherds (Lk 2:9-2:9)

“Then an angel

Of the Lord

Appeared before them.

The glory

Of the Lord

Shone around them.

They were terrified.”

 

καὶ ἄγγελος Κυρίου ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς καὶ δόξα Κυρίου περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν.

 

Luke once again introduced an angel, but an unnamed angel, into the scene as an angelic messenger from God.  Luke said that an angel of the Lord (καὶ ἄγγελος Κυρίου) appeared or stood before them (ἐπέστη αὐτοῖς).  The glory of the Lord (καὶ δόξα Κυρίου) shone around them (περιέλαμψεν αὐτούς).  However, the shepherds were terrified with a great fear (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν), and rightfully so.  Out of nowhere, this angel with a bright light was there before them.  This glory of the Lord could be understood as perhaps the presence of God himself.

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Jesus is transfigured before the three apostles (Mt 17:2-17:2)

“Jesus was transfigured

Before them.

His face shone

Like the sun.

His clothes

Became dazzling white.”

 

καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν, καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος, τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς.

 

This transfiguration can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 9:2-3, Luke, chapter 9:29, and here in Matthew, but there are minor differences in all 3 accounts.  Jesus was transfigured in front of the 3 apostles (καὶ μετεμορφώθη ἔμπροσθεν αὐτῶν).  There was a metamorphism, as the appearance of Jesus changed right before their very eyes.  His face was shining like the sun (καὶ ἔλαμψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ὡς ὁ ἥλιος,), just like what happened to Moses, in Exodus, chapter 34:35.  There the face of Moses was so bright that he had to put a veil on after talking to Yahweh, before he could talk to Aaron, his brother.  Jesus’ clothes or garments became a dazzling white, like a bright light or white snow (τὰ δὲ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο λευκὰ ὡς τὸ φῶς).  Suddenly, the human Jesus seemed more brightly divine.  White and light were good, while black and darkness were bad.

The glory of God in the east (Ezek 43:2-43:2)

“There,

The glory

Of the God of Israel

Was coming

From the east.

The sound was

Like the sound

Of mighty waters.

The earth shone

With his glory.”

Suddenly, the glory of the God of Israel came from the east, while Ezekiel was standing at the east gate. This glorious God sounded like mighty waters. The whole earth shone with his glory. This was a very strong visual and auditory appearance of God, Yahweh, much like in the earlier chapters. Here, Ezekiel was standing at the eastern gate of the Temple with the bronze man. Quite often, the glory of God can seem like the rising sun, but that is not specifically mentioned here.

 

The importance of fire (2 Macc 1:19-1:23)

“When our ancestors were being led captive to Persia,

The pious priests of that time took

Some of the fire of the altar.

They secretly hid it in the hollow of a dry cistern.

They took such precautions

That the place was unknown to anyone.

But after many years had passed,

When it pleased God,

Nehemiah, having been commissioned by the king of Persia,

Sent the descendants of the priests

Who had hidden the fire to get it.

When they reported to us

That they had not found fire

But only a thick liquid,

He ordered them to dip it out and bring it.

When the materials for the sacrifices were presented,

Nehemiah ordered the priests

To sprinkle the liquid on the wood

And on the things laid upon it.

When this was done,

Some time had passed.

The sun, which had been clouded over,

Shone out,

A great fire blazed up,

So that all marveled.

While the sacrifice was being consumed,

The priests offered prayer.

The priests and everyone,

Jonathan led.

The rest responded,

As did Nehemiah.”

There is nothing in the book of Nehemiah about this fire incident. If anything it is a reference to the cult of fire among the Persians. Somehow the captured Israelite priests hid a fire that had been on an altar in a dry cistern that no one knew about. How could a fire keep going it no feeds it? When Nehemiah asked the descendents of these priests to get the fire, they told him that they only had a thick liquid that could have been naphtha or petro-chemical oil, which of course, was found in the Persian area. They put wood on it. When the sun shone it, it burst into flames so that it consumed the sacrifice. Obviously, the priests and everyone offered sacrifices. A certain Jonathan seemed to be the priest leader of this ceremony.