Matthew 17:6-10

Mat 17:6 (KJB)
And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

When they heard the voice of God they were greatly terrified. Maybe it had the same sound as when he spoke at Sinai or the fact that God the Father was speaking caused them to be frightened. (Ezek 1:28 KJV) As the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so was the appearance of the brightness round about. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. And when I saw it, I fell upon my face, and I heard a voice of one that spake. Just as Ezekiel fell on his face in the presence of God, fear was the natural reaction when God intervened supernaturally. (Dan 8:17 KJV) So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision.

Mat 17:7 (KJB)
And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

Then once the glory had departed and Moses and Elijah went back to Heaven, the event was over and I wonder if Peter, James, and John realized they were the three who would taste of the Kingdom of God before they died? They were still in a state of fright but then Jesus came over to them and touched them and told them to arise and not to be afraid. Arise and be not afraid are both in the Imperative mood in the Greek making them a command to the disciples to fear not, which is a reoccurring theme throughout the Gospels.

Mat 17:8 (KJB)
And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.

Then when they finally lifted up their eyes, they saw that Jesus was the only one who was there with them. This verse gives us a good principle for the Christian life. We too should only see Jesus and not look to man. This mountaintop experience was not given for the disciples enjoyment but it was part of their preparation for ministry as there were many needy people in the valley below where they would soon start ministering again. It is the same in our Christian life, whenever we receive a mountaintop experience, it is for the purpose of further training in our Christian walk.

Mat 17:9 (KJB)
And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Jesus then gives them a charge that they were not to reveal any of the events which took place but this time He gave them a time frame when they could reveal it. Many times before Jesus forbade people from making Him known but here He tells the disciples that they may speak of it after He is risen from the dead. (Mark 8:30 KJV) And he charged them that they should tell no man of him.

Mat 17:10 (KJB)
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

The question which troubled the disciples, even in spite of what they just experienced, was that they heard that Elijah was to come first. The Scribes had been teaching that since Elijah has not yet come back to Israel, it was impossible for the Messiah to come. This was just another ploy to reject the claims that Jesus was the Messiah. The scribes were looking for a physical return of Elijah and not one who came in spirit. It is a good thing that the physical Elijah did not come back because knowing what type of prophet he was, he would have denounced all the Pharisees and Sadducees because of their unbelief and lifestyles of greed.