Let’s read Matthew 17:1-4, “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles; one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (NKJV).

It is clear from this passage that at least Peter knew Moses and Elijah when they appeared on the Mount with the Lord Jesus. There are several possible explanations for this:

1) He heard their names spoken in the conversation they had with Jesus (verse 3).

2) He recognized them from the Old Testament descriptions of them. For example, perhaps Moses had his ROD in his hand (Exodus 4:2, 17; 17:11) and Elijah was wearing a LEATHER GIRDLE (2nd Kings 1:8).

3) He was given a special revelation from God just as he had when he recognized that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (see Matthew 16:16-17).

4) He possessed an INTUITIVE KNOWLEDGE because the Lord was giving him (and James and John) a foretaste of the coming glory.

I don’t believe we can be dogmatic in answering this question but I favor the 4th view. The “transfiguration of the Lord” was a “preview of the coming kingdom.” The Lord Jesus will then be glorified as King of kings, and Lord of lords. Moses and Elijah represent all those who will have been raptured to heaven (Moses picturing those who had died and Elijah those who were alive when Christ translated them to glory) and who will return with Him when He sets up His kingdom. Peter, James, and John foreshadow the faithful Jewish remnant who will be alive on earth at Christ’s appearing. I believe all believers will then possess knowledge beyond anything they can imagine in this present scene. I base this belief on 1st Corinthians 13:9-12, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part, But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as child, I understood as a child, I thought as child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For NOW we see in a mirror, dimly, but THEN face to face. NOW I know in part, but THEN I SHALL KNOW just as I also am known.” Our knowledge (of God’s Word, of our Lord Jesus, of other people, etc.) right NOW is so limited, but when the Day of Glory bursts upon this scene we “shall KNOW just as we are known.” And I believe this includes the knowledge of people we had never met before, like Moses and Elijah. It matters not that they lived on earth thousands of years ago, WE WILL KNOW THEM! (296.5) (DO)