“Therefore, having such a hope, we use great boldness. We are not like Moses, who used to put a veil over his face so that the Israelites could not stare at the end of what was fading away, but their minds were closed. For to this day, at the reading of the old covenant, the same veil remains; it is not lifted, because it is set aside only in Christ. Even to this day, whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their hearts, but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-16 (HCSB)
Every time Moses returned from the Lord’s presence, His face would radiate God’s glory. He would tell the people God’s instruction and then veil his face. Why the veil? Some would say it was because the people were afraid to come near him. Exodus 34 tells of the people’s fear of Moses’ radiance. But that’s not the reason for the veil.
Moses wore the veil because his radiant appearance only lasted so long. Paul teaches that Moses veiled his face because he didn’t want the people to see God’s glory fading from him. It’s kind of like seeing the band KISS without their makeup or the wizard of OZ behind the curtain. He was concerned that if the people saw him without the glory, they would cease to acknowledge him as the leader.
The veil was not intended to keep people from seeing the radiance. It was designed to conceal the fact that the glory was fading. In masking the reality, Moses became larger than life in Israel’s eyes…almost godlike. God Himself predicted this would happen when Moses tried to diminish God’s call by asking the Lord to let Aaron be His spokesman.
“He will speak to the people for you. He will be your spokesman, and you will serve as God to him.” Exodus 4:16 (HCSB)
Today, when “Moses” (the Torah) is read, religious non-Messianic Jews remember the “glory” of when Moses delivered the law to their fathers. Yet, they overlook Moses’ tragic flaws. Without going so far as worshipping Moses as “God,” he is elevated to the status of a god in many respects. Paul describes a “veil” covering the hearts of non-believing religious Jews…of whom he once was. The veil represents a conflict between the desire to be identified as God’s “chosen” and the inability to keep the Torah. In short, the veil is a byproduct of pride because of the rejection of Messiah Jesus. In rejecting God’s provision of atonement through Messiah, they have become “blinded.” Thus, while surrounded by the ancient things of God, they are just as lost as if they were steeped in paganism.
Only Jesus can remove the veil because only He can impart everlasting atonement. Only Messiah can give us an unchanging, secure identity that is not dependent on our works. And His glory never fades! ( Isaiah 40:8; John 1:14)
Elevating your Faith with daily Bible reading and devotionals written by Steve Wiggins.
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