Monday, March 20

Why did Moses veil his face?

Have you ever read a verse or a passage and realized that it meant something different than what you had always thought? For me, that happens a lot because I grew up reading and memorizing the KJV and only in the last few years have been exposed to the NAS and the ESV. I occasionally find verses that I have understood wrongly because of awkward wording or words that now have different meanings. This also happens because I have read passages lightly but never studied them.

Anyway, the verses in 2 Corinthians about Moses veiling his face got at lot more clear and a lot more confusing for me the other night (Kerry and I actually stayed up until 2 trying to figure it out). I always thought that when Moses saw God (well, His back parts), his face shone (reflecting God's glory), and he put on a veil because people could not bear to look at it. Then, the glory eventually faded, and he could uncover his face. This is not exactly what happened.

Exodus 34 NAS
29It came about when Moses was coming down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand as he was coming down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because of his speaking with Him.
30So when Aaron and all the sons of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and
they were afraid to come near him.
31Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers in the congregation returned to him; and Moses spoke to them.
32Afterward all the sons of Israel came near, and he commanded them to do everything that the LORD had spoken to him on Mount Sinai.
33When Moses had finished speaking with them,
he put a veil over his face.
34But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him,
he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,
the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.

So, it is not that the people were unable to look at his shining face. Verse 31 shows that he spoke to them with a shining, un-veiled face. He put the veil on after he was done talking to them. Apparently, the glow faded after time. Then, every time he went in to the tent outside the camp (Ex. 33:7-11), his face must have glowed again (kinda like re-chargeable batteries? Glow-in-the-dark stars?), the people saw it again, and then he would cover it up.

Now, you have to go back to this passage to understand 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 and the surrounding passages.

2 Cor. 3:12-18 NAS
12Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech,
13and are not like Moses,
who used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.
14But their minds were
hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ.
15But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;
but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18But we all, with unveiled face,
beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

This passage says (v. 13) that Moses did not want the Israelites to see the last bits of glory fade from his face. This is consistent with the Exodus account that says the Israelites did see his face for awhile, and Moses covered it as it faded. But then there is this verse just before:

1 Cor. 3:7 NAS
7But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was,
8how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?

Here's the ESV too:

7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end,

The "such" in the ESV leads you to think that his face was shining so much that no one could look at it. But that is the wrong sense of the word; and it can be left out. The NAS doesn't use it which is better, but the verse still seems to say that the Israelites couldn't bear to look at his bright face. Now Paul's point in verses 7-8 is that the Spirit's ministry is far superior to Moses' ministry. But he still wouldn't contradict himself...

Anyway, what I see in verses 12-18 is that the veil over Moses' face and the veil over the Old Covenant are the same. Somehow they both prevent people from seeing the truth that the OC was temporary and fading, therefore a New one was necessary.

But notice the contrast between us (posessers of the NC) and Moses. "We are bold not like Moses who veiled his face." So here's the big questions: Why did Moses veil his face? And was that right or wrong? Here's my potential conclusion, but it still has difficulties:

When God revealed Himself to Moses and made Moses' face reflect His glory, He was giving validation to both Moses and the Law. The people saw that and were in awe. However, God designed for that glory on Moses' face to fade away as a picture of what was going to happen to the law. For some reason, Moses veiled his face and prevented the people from seeing the glory fade. In the same way, there is a veil over the Old Covenant to an unbeliever who esteems the Law. He, just like most Israelites, is not able to see that the Law fades.

So that still leaves the 2 questions: Why? Was Moses embarassed that the glory was fading (hence the contrast with being bold)? Was he scared that the people would doubt his ministry if they saw the glory fade (also a timid thing to do)? Or, did he do it on purpose so the people would not see the truth that the Law was meant to fade? The answer to this question would then help answer the next: Was that right or wrong? Paul seems to call him timid and in a negative way. But maybe God wanted Moses to conceal certain things.

In spite if the confusion in this passage, the main truth shines out beautifully: Our ministry, the New Covenant that Christ purchased, is infinitely more glorious than the one Moses administered which faded away. Just as God makes clear the truth of the Old Covenant through Christ, we can clearly preach the truth of Christ trusting Him to change the dark hearts of unbelievers.


At 2:47 PM, Blogger chris said...

It sounds like you're coming to good conclusions on this passage.

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

were the israelites prepared to see such glory? do we not prepare ourselves to mirror the image of God in our actions?

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a lovely perspective. i have always wondered two things: why did Moses veil his face? and *why* did he strike the rock in stead of speaking? these were two very significant things, that i think we can all learn from.

though, i do think Moses veiled it for good reason, for Christ does the same, when he uses parables in the new testament. i believe that God's timing is everything... (and, speaking in NT terms, only His Holy Spirit can reveal His glory) and i believe Moses knew that as well. i also think he was honestly quite meek. he was excited about the law of the Lord, and in doing his work, but did not want to seem overwhelming.

kinda like a butterfly... these very beautiful, intriguing and rather conspicuous creatures are yet made to be so gentle, graceful, quiet in their existence.

perhaps Moses understood the importance of meekness, and humbling himself, so as not too seem too overwhelming to some, and also to protect his soul from stumbling.

that may be a long shot, but this story intrigues me to no end!

big love.

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Chris Sanford said...

Moses struck the rock because God told him to - see Exodus 17:6. BTW, Moses staff that he struck the rock with represents his faith. It was something he always had with him and leaned upon. It also overcame all opposition when it arose and was the thing most often used to bring the plagues upon Egypt. It is our faith that pulls God's promises from Him and makes them ours.

I read with interest your study of the veil over Moses' face. I have read several commentaries online that have come to similar conclusions.

I apologize, this is pretty long, but I think there is more to this. God doesn't want His disciples (us) to just learn (ie. accumulate knowledge) from His word, He wants us to be transformed by it in order to become like Him - actually one with Him - and there's so much more we can talk about THIS subject.

So my question is how am I transformed by understanding that Moses covered his face because he wanted to hide the fading glory (of the OT?) I'm not, so therefore I find it of little value.

But scripture talks more about veils and understanding how these passages relate to us CAN be transforming. Rebekah (Gen 24:65) put a veil over herself (face?) after spotting Isaac (her future husband) in the field, Tamar also (Gen 38:14) just before having relations with Jacob. These were two women, one a virgin about to be married and another a widower who had not been accorded her full rights.

In the NT Paul discourages the use of a head covering (1 Cor 11:4&5) for men when praying to the Lord and encourages the wearing of one for women? Why? Because women represent the church (bride of Christ) and men represent Christ (the bridegroom) and they are not yet married. The veil reflects that separation. The veil, or covering, in Moses' tabernacle that separated the holy place from the most holy place is also called a separatrix (Strong's translation.) I believe, as many others also, that the Lord intends us to see these two rooms as representing the soul and the spirit, you could probably also say earth/(kosmos) & heaven and bride & groom. God's word is rich.

So what separates them? Heb 10:20 tells us this veil refers to the flesh of our Lord. Whenever I heard the word "flesh" in a sermon, I always envisioned meat displayed in a butcher's window but it more accurately refers to the way we think and, correspondingly, act. Reading Is. 55 is very revealing on this subject as He likens the difference between His way of thinking and ours as the difference between heaven and earth. Isn't that telling? It's too involved to get into much detail here but basically when Jesus died on the cross and the veil was rent in two by the sovereign hand of God, the way was opened. Jesus says in Rev 3:8 "behold, I have set before thee an open door." It can't be the door of our hearts (Rev 3:20) because we see that it's up to us to open that one, I think He's waiting for us to walk through the broken veil since it leads into His presence and oneness with Him.

I believe this veil refers to our "flesh" that prior to our conversion prevented us from even seeing the kingdom of God. It is the woven tapestry of our life - traditions of men, fallen ways, fallen thoughts, peer pressures, what the "kosmos" world system of family, experience, education, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, internet has taught us, our fears, phobias and vices, sin, ambitions, etc. and it separates us from Him - because it's of us, not Him.

He's looking for fruit - His fruit, His nature - in us and by His death on the cross and His new life in us He has broken the power of this fleshly way of thinking that always prevented us from walking through - right now into the holy of holies.

So what is the holy of holies? It represents God's dwelling place - where He resides, His habitation or whatever you like to call it. And what does scripture call those places where He resides? The most holy place is one, clouds another, heaven another and our hearts (or spirit) another. So does God live in more than one place? No, but all these places are, I believe, are synonymous in a spiritual way. He dwells in heaven, but He also dwells in our spirit therefore it could be said our spirit is heaven or at least in heaven. We do sit with Christ Jesus in heavenly places, don't we? Why don't we have more closeness with Him then? Because we are fleshly and think fleshlily and no flesh can see Him or be in His presence (the requirements of the veil [blue for elevated thinking, scarlet for blood washed, purple for authority, white linen for righteousness, cherubim for (?)] still stand even though it has been rent.)

For many years I had a very wrong concept about heaven. We've been taught it's a place we go to when we die - if we've been saved beforehand - a destination as it were. While I think that's not necessarily wrong, there is much more. If what I've said above is truth and it is supported by scripture (where your treasure is there shall your heart (motives) be also. Lay not up for yourselves treasure on earth where moth...etc. but lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven. Jesus also said, "no one has ascended to heaven except He who descended from heaven, even the Son of man who IS IN HEAVEN [spoken while His feet were planted on earth and before His crucifixion.])

It looks to me like the marriage supper of the Lamb, the oneness Jesus talks about in John, walking through the veil, meeting Jesus in the air, coming into heaven (His presence) could all be one and the same thing or at least STAGES of the same thing. After all what is marriage except two becoming one? And what is heaven except the place where He dwells, and where does He dwell - in my heart, or spirit. This is quite a motivating reason to leave my fleshly ways.

I see the flesh as being the thing that prevent me from ascending heavenward. As a balloonist jettisons ballast to get airborne, so must we reject all this world (kosmos) offers in order to grab hold of the heavenly. One depends on the other - and in this we can see that the law is good.

So how do I fulfill the veil requirements and walk through the veil to His presence and become one with Him? By faith and asking Him to transform me from fleshly thinking to heavenly thinking. And how does this come about? First our faith enables us to be in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. It's a done deal, but - we still have to "take" the promised land. Israel were given the land, but there were still battles to be fought even though the land was God's to give and He gave it to them. This is a bit of a mystery and tests our faith, but it is truth.

We're told we don't have because we don't ask. So we must ask when we see our lives don't line up with scripture or God's requirements for us. Rev 19:7 says "the bride hath made herself ready". But I don't see many making themselves ready - many are sitting around waiting to be "raptured" - and yet Ps 110:1 tells us He's sitting at the right hand of the Father waiting for His enemies to be a footstool for His feet." So we're waiting for Him to slay our enemies and He's waiting for us to slay them - does that make sense? Apparently his work is "finished". Wouldn't that mean He's equipped us so well, no enemy, not even death, can withstand us?

Sadly, I think the problem is today's "church" has adopted the spirit of the ten spies sent into the promised land who said "tomorrow, tomorrow, not today". Joshua and Caleb were today people or NOW people. Guess what - so is God. In fact I have been dwelling on an interesting comment a friend said the other day - what if eternity were NOW. When you stop and think on this it makes much sense, NOW has no past and it has no tomorrow - just like eternity. God calls Himself "I AM" He is the self existent one, and He more than often talks in the simple present tense. Enoch was translated, Elijah didn't see death either - we are told by faith. They were pioneers and should inspire us. Caleb and Joshua entered the promised land by faith as did David slay Goliath.

2000 years ago a godly seed was planted in the ground and died and now a crop (like Him) must spring up. New Jerusalem "descends" from heaven. His people must be in heaven first in order for this to happen. He's coming in the "clouds". If a people are in "heaven" they have already become as clouds. They're in high places, they are not affected by the pull of the earth's gravity having "evaporated" from this earth and become citizens of heaven, they are directed by the wind (pneuma, spirit), they drip life giving water to a parched, starving ground. Doesn't this sound to you like a people who "follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth", or "the sons of God who are lead by the Holy Spirit."

I believe the veil is that which separates us from the fullness of God. Death does bring us into His presence - Paul said to be out of the body is to be in the presence of the Lord - but at the same time we know that we die daily, to take up our cross daily, to put everything on the altar where the fire of God will burn it up. Is there a difference? Maybe, but I think heaven is attainable in this life, I believe it's His will for a people to discover this and act on it NOW. In fact I think it must happen for the salvation of this world since I've read that the whole world waits for the manifestation of the sons of God.

At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moses had the veil because he was living by the law. This pertains to the believing people, not necessarily unsaved. The only way to unveil is to live by faith in Jesus Christ. God made a way for us to live fully by the Grace of Jesus. We can only have favour in the Lord by placing our entire life in the hands of The Lord. We must have faith to do so. Only then can we take our own veil off so our eyes are not blinded. Anyone who lives by works and the law even though they profess the faith still wear a veil. What people don't realize is they think there is a price to pay. Jesus died on the cross...a free will gift from God. Voluntarily done by our Lord and Saving Grace. It was finished at the cross. He paid the price. It was done free of charge. There is no work, law or justification and it is hard for people to comprehend that we shouldn't do SOMETHING to repay him. We are not above The Lord. We should believe Him when he says "It is finished". Another way of saying "Mission Accomplished". All we have to do is receive it. AMEN!

At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The reading of Exodus 34:33 found in the King James Bible says-"And TILL Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face", and the NKJV, NASB, NIV, ESV reading says- "And WHEN Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face".

We read in the King James Bible, Exodus 34:33-35: "And TILL Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. But WHEN Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, HE TOOK THE VAIL OFF, UNTIL he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses PUT THE VAIL UPON HIS FACE AGAIN, UNTIL he went in to speak with him."
Aaron and the children of Israel were so alarmed at the brightness, that "they were afraid to come nigh him,"... so that the meaning is, when He knew the cause of their alarm, He left off speaking, and covered his face with a vail;...It seems, however, in my opinion, to be perfectly consistent that Moses, after he saw them departing in consternation, ceased from speaking, because they did not listen to him, and, when he discovered the reason, put on the vail."
"Concerning the shining of Moses's face observe here, [1.] Moses was not aware of it himself: He wist not that the skin of his face shone, v. 29. [2.] Aaron and the children of Israel saw it, and were afraid, v. 30. It not only dazzled their eyes, but struck such an awe upon them as obliged them to retire. [3.] Moses put a veil upon his face, when he perceived that it shone, v. 33, 35

At 2:57 AM, Blogger Shweta Wadhwa said...

I had been asking many people for explanation on this passage, your's is very satisfactory, god bless you

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous larry said...

I have not really thought much about the veiling of moses face previously but what you shared is most interesting, thank you for shedding some light on this.

At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to the lady who posted this comment for the most part you were right in somethings you said but your confused in others and you may be confusing others who knows no better when you said that the the law fades away; never does the law fade not even alittle it will always be sin to commit any of the commandments dear, there the Laws of God are unchangeable even as the one who gave them on the mountain of the Lord; but what the new testament says it that because we believe in the blood of Christ the Son of God, now we walk in faith as Abraham and like Abraham is accounted unto us as his children because we believe, and our sons and daughters of our Lord, believing in the Lord, and that he died for us have all the promises of God even his spirit to help us as we walk not anymore slaves to sin but to God, and so never in the New Testament of The Holy Bible does it says that the Law of God fade.. it will always sweetheart be wrong to steal and so on...

and by the way everything that happened in the old testament is to give more light and to be as a sign or attribute to what happened in the new testament

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I wish I could email you directly. Here's a quick explanation about the question you had:

Moses was supposed to ask the rock for water, but he struck it instead. It was this disobedience that prevented him from being allowed into the promised land. This you know...

Okay. This episode really happened then. It happened when Christ was here, and it happens in our own lives.

All Moses had to do was ask the rock for water, but instead, he struck it. God would have provided water for them if he had just asked. But instead, in anger, he struck the rock.

Years later, the decendents of the same people, at the end of a 400 year absence from God, were very spiritually thirsty. God sent his Son, the Rock, and told the people if they would just ask, he would give them Living Water, that would continually satisfy their thirst, and spring up into eternal life. Instead of asking, the people struck the rock, (They crucified Jesus), just like Moses, and they too were prevented from entering into the promised land.

This plays out in our own lives too if you think about it. All we have to do is ask for water when we thirst, but instead we turn to things of the world to satisfy our thirst and we strike the rock.

Okay, here's the best way to sum it all up. Moses could not enter the promised land anyway, period. Moses represents the law and the law is dead to those dwelling in the promised land... if you are living by the long you are not living in God's Kingdom (promised land), because we (the just) live by faith.

When Israel, (Believers) enter into the Promised land, (God's Kingdom) we leave Moses behind, and trust in Joshua, (Jesus) to lead us. We've learned how to walk by faith by following Moses, (The Law) and then cross the Jordan river by a leap of faith, and then start claiming our land, our promises, overcoming our faith!! We can possess the land, but not by the law, but by faith.

Sorry if I dumbed it down too much, or didn't explain it well enough. I'm at work and this is the quickie version!! Email me if you have questions or comments.



At 6:26 PM, Blogger Martin50 said...

I don't see any direct authority in the Exodus or other OT passages for saying that the glory of Moses' face was a fading glory. Shouldn't we understand the passage to say that M at first did not know that his face was shining (so could not have planned to conceal its fading), but insisted on speaking to the people because the message was so important. Later he became aware of his condition but from time to time let people see it because it showed his divinely given authority. But he wore the veil for the rest of the time so as not to make people fear him. He was after all (Num.12.3) a nice and unpretentious person. (That is until (Psalm 106.32-3) the people's insolence at the Waters of Strife momentarily makes his spirit bitter and his words rash.)
It's a very hostile interpretation to say that he in effect wanted to conceal the fact that God had not made the glory permanent.
Paul's comments on M in IICor.3 are indeed remarkably negative and I think that your interpretation is interesting and radical because it suggests that he gets to the point of hinting that Moses was a worryingly flawed figure, concealing something very important about his relationship with God. But this can be no more than a hint. It's not really in Paul's plain words.
Paul's repeated word 'atenisai', 'look steadily', is not as far as I can see in the Greek OT that he was presumably reading. That the problem was with a steady gaze at the intense shining of M's face - rather than simply with fear at a sign of such closeness to God - is Paul's interpretation. I don't really see how it would have made direct sense for him to say that it was the fading of the brightness, rather than its sheer intensity, that made a steady gaze impossible. Everyone has difficulty in gazing steadily on something very bright. When we gaze on a fading light we may feel longing and distress, because we don't want the light to go out, but we don't have difficulty in maintaining a steady gaze.
Paul is certainly saying that it's only Christian enlightenment that endures.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The whole world is still deceived. The ancient Israelites did not have God's holy spirit, any more than do most professing Christians today (except for the very elect of God's one true church) who unwittingly continue to worship the god of this world.

At 12:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you said "...I grew up reading and memorizing the KJV and only in the last few years have been exposed to the NAS and the ESV. I occasionally find verses that I have understood wrongly because of awkward wording or words that now have different meanings. This also happens because I have read passages lightly but never studied them."
Why do you think the ESV and NAS are better? You have no idea how corrupt these new tranlations are. They not only updated the language, often making it more complicated and hard to understand, but they took the deity of Jesus away. KJV is the ONLY version of the English Bible that was preserved. All the new translations are based on some modified greek manuscripts manufactured by freemasons like Wescott and Hort. Or one of the individuals that were on the NIV commission was a lesbian. That is why NIV never mentions the word "sodomite." Stick with the KJV! That's why the KJV has so many enemies, because it's the only true translations of the Bible in English!

At 5:00 PM, Blogger Tommy Mitsugo said...

There was a recent article about how researchers have discovered that our bodies all give off very faint light, especially from our faces. I thought it was very interesting. My post the link to the article;

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Al. said...


I quite liked the "veiled Old Covenant" allusion; the OT is unveiled through the NT, as per Augustine's fabled quote, while the NT is latent within the OT.

The shining face seems to be a locus classicus regarding exquisite human figures and angelic beings. Have a look at the description of the angeli interpretes of 2 Enoch 1:5, whose faces were "shining like the sun" (in Charles' translation; Charlesworth provides a similar one). The shining face of the entity in visions seems to be an affirmation of its nature, words and deeds, through its proximity with God.

At 5:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoyed your analysis and all the other contributions - thanks.

Small point - the quotation is from 2 Corinthians.

Mike Bennett

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Christine S said...

Not sure if it's worth it to post this, if the person will even see this but...

Hebrews 8,9 and 10 clearly talk about how the New Covenant makes the Old Covenant obsolete, and that the Old Covenant fades away. This refers to the glory of the new outshining the glory of the old 2 Cor 3. It does not mean that if the Old Covenant fades away it is suddenly okay to murder or commit adultery etc...

I wonder if Moses worried that if the sons of Isreal saw the fading glory that they might lose faith. It was in their nature ( as it is in ours) to forget and turn away and worship false idols quickly. Gold calf for example.

Thank you for this post, you help me to put into words the thoughts that I've been struggling with and trying make tangible.

At 9:13 PM, Blogger TheStar said...

Moses glory needed to fade. It was for the sake of the people. If he remained in the glory of God and the people no longer believed him after seeing him in full glory they would have been blinded and perished. Jesus was revealed in full glory and when he was veiled/forsaken from God he was bold and took the just punishment. The people witnessed his death and resurection. Those who witnessed such if they believed not after seeing they would be blinded and not recieve the promise of God. Moses did not have Jesus so he could not live fully in the glory of God.

At 2:19 PM, Blogger christiantruth1021 said...

Response to Chris Sanford about "Moses struck the rock because God told him to - see Exodus 17:6."

In Numbers 20:8, the Lord told Moses, "Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink." Numbers 20:12 gives us the Lord's response, "But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them."

First, Moses disobeyed a direct command from God. God had commanded Moses to speak to the rock. Instead, Moses struck the rock with his staff. Second, Moses took the credit for bringing forth the water. Notice how in verse 10 Moses said, "must we (referring to Moses and Aaron) bring you water out of this rock." Moses took credit for the miracle himself, instead of attributing it to God. Third, Moses did this in front of all the Israelites. Such a public example of direct disobedience could not go unpunished. Moses’ punishment was that he would not be allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:12).

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Joshua said...

Great thoughts. I think you will find this helpful in your understanding of the text. I did as I was studying it this week.

Peace to you.

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

really REALLY good stuff. I am very grateful to you for your take on this mysterious and oft-misunderstood story. It's gonna help us preach this passage a TON at our church.

tim sutherland, teaching pastor
community christian church
naperville, illinois

At 10:10 AM, Blogger John said...

Here's a link to an "unspoken sermon" written by George MacDonald that really helped me to understand Moses' thought and Paul's thought from 2 Cor. 3.

C.S. Lewis said of MacDonald, that he was his "master" (mentor) and that he never wrote anything that wasn't influenced by him.

Your post reveals a desire to grow, from glory to glory. I think you'll find that MacDonald is able to help you go further along. I know he has helped me.

I noticed that you like Jane Austen. If you like her novels you'll like MacDonald's too. Here's a website for more info on him:

John Kermott
First Baptist Church
Sterling, IL

At 9:26 AM, Blogger brian said...

I think that Moses face veiled could be prophetic of the unknown dispensational time gap that was revealed to the apostle Paul?

The veil is the mystery...the fade of the age of law to the age of grace with Christ in you incorruptible seed that does not fade in glory

At 5:11 AM, Blogger Bottom Fish said...

I would like to make you a question that is not related with this topic. Can I?

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 1

Moses veiled his face in the same manner as the room in the Tabernacle/Temple, where the Ark of the Covenant later rested..the Holy of Holies. The veil in the Temple was only removed during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement...thus revealing the Ark, which held not just the 10 Commandments, but the whole Law (613). Moses removed his veil when revealing the Law of Yahweh to the people, and covered it back up afterwards.

The most important part was left out of the II Corinthians 3 discussion, which clears up any confusion. The Law of Yahweh given by Moses consisted of 3 parts: Commandments, Statutes, and Ordinances(Deut 30:15, Malachi 4:4)

You first have to know the context of Paul's writing here. He was talking specifically about the sacrificial ordinances of the Law...not the "entire" Law.

If Paul were talking about the 'entire' law, then he would contradict himself in Romans 7:23 (Psalms 19)! The sacrificial part of the Law(and circumcision) was in the ordinances that the Messiah did away with. Read Colossians 2:14, "...blotted out the bonds written in ordinances)...though here he was referring to the act of circumcision, being a grown man,after the eighth day, to atone for sins...see Acts 15:1 as a reference.

The Sacrificial ordinances (in general) stated to sacrifice an unblemished animal, spill the blood, and then your sins would be forgiven (sounds like the Messiah, right?)This was the "ministration (service) of death" Paul was referring to in the passage. Those sacrificial ordinances (including circumcision...Galatians 3) to forgive sin were replaced by the Messiah, as he was the final sacrifice for the forgiving of sins. THE REST OF THE LAW WAS LEFT UNCHANGED!

Does anyone think the Ten commandments and the other statutes lead to death? Of course not (see Deut 11:26-28...NOT following them lead to death. Also, if they are done away with, how do we know when we sin? ...for "sin IS the transgression of the Law"-(John 3:4)

At 9:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part 2

Belief in the Messiah Yahshua is just a tranformation of the sacrificial ordinances, not a new ordinance. There is no new (as in brand new)covenant.

This is why the word "kainos" was used in II Corinthians 3:6, instead of "neos". English uses the word "new" for both words, though they mean two different things.

The word "kaines(Strongs 2537) means "new as in quality or freshness"...Having "faith" that the Messiah was the final sacrifice for our sins was/is of a better quality of ordinance than killing an animal for sin. Killing the animal never cleared one's conscience from feeling guilty, because a person could (and would) just commit a sin and say, "I'll just sacrifice an animal later, to atone for it". This is why the Temple was destroyed soon after his death, as the OLD SYSTEM OF SACRIFICE WAS FADING AWAY, giving Jews time to accept the Messiah. After that, there was/is no more temple to sacrifice the animals. You can now only have faith in the Messiah in order to actually obey/carry out the sacrificial ordinances.

The word used in the New Testament for "brand new", as in time (not quality) is "neos"(Strongs 3501). This is the word all of Christianity thinks what is meant with regards to the "New" Covenant, but this is wrong, as it simply isn't written there, for a reason.

NOW it makes sense how the Law (sacrificial ordinances) was "a 'tutor' or 'schoolmaster' to Yahshua, that we may be justified by faith", as stated in Galatians 3:24. The system was put there to get us used to the concept of something sinless, and not worthy of death, dying for "your" sins!

This is why Paul later says what he says in Romans 3:31..."Do we then make the Law of no effect through faith? BY NO MEANS: WE ESTABLISH THE LAW. In other words, you need faith that the Messiah Yahshua died for our sins, BUT ALSO keep the rest of the Law as well.


Revelation 14:12 tell us the same thing. The group of people who are considered Saints are those that "keep the commandments of Yahweh ***AND*** the faith of Yahshua. NOT ONE OR THE OTHER. We all know that the commandments are the LAW. We also know what the faith of the Messiah was, right?

Rev 12:17 tells us that Satan made war with the remnant(very small amount)...those that keep the commandments of Yahweh, ***AND*** hold the testimony of the Messiah Yahshua. Again...we all know that the commandments are the Law. we also know about the Messiah dying for our sins,right?

The confusion for Judaism is not believing in the Messiah Yahshua, and for Christianity for believing the "whole" Law has been done away with.

The very small remnant of people who make it into the Kingdom of Heaven is those who do both.

The scriptures "never" contradict itself...only our misunderstanding of them causes contradiction.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very informative and clear. Thanks

GOD bless you.

At 9:20 PM, Blogger DavidB said...

The Law does not fade away in the least "until heaven and earth pass away." What needs to fade away is man's misconception of the Law. If a man thinks the Law is a vehicle to demonstrate his holiness and rightful inheritance in the presence of YHVH then he is fool. Both OT and NT concur, "by the works of the Law, no man will be justified." On the other hand, if a man thinks the Law is a vehicle for God to demonstrate His holiness through him then he is wise. The spirit abides in the commandments of God without which we can say "we love God."

At 9:21 PM, Blogger DavidB said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hebrews 8:13 does say the old testament is made old through the new and is ready to vanish away

At 7:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. I almost had an uprising from some older KJV saints when I pointed the passage out to them in a few other translations. (obsolete was the word they stumbled on)

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The KJV saints might just as well stumble over their own 'abolished', in II Cor 3: 13 just as strong as word as 'obsolete'.
I see no reference at all to ceremonies rather than morality. We have Peter's authority for calling Paul a difficult writer but surely we shouldn't try to understand him by introducing a distinction which he never once mentions or even hints at, that between ceremony and morality. Since he calls on us in ICor 5 to keep the feast of Passover (what other feast does he have in mind?) he doesn't have any general objection to Jewish ceremonies. He never says that he thinks that the Jerusalem Christians should abandon the Temple.
He surely means that in moral matters we should consult Christian revelation plus common sense, not consult Moses' Law, which is 'rendered inoperative'. That is what he says, plain as a pikestaff, don't you think? That's why the inexcusable act is to sit in moral judgement (Rom. 2:1).
I haven't checked many translations but I think KJV is misleading at the end of Rom.3, which emphasises the crucial distinction between law of works and law of faith, which turns out later also to be a law of love. KJV 31 has 'Do we make void THE law through faith? God forbid: yea we establish THE law'. There is no warrant for the 'Mosaic-sounding' definite article. It's 'we establish law', meaning the new law of faith in place of the old law of works.
In Revelation I don't see why Hebrew-style 'Yahweh' and 'Yashua': it's 'God' and 'Jesus' and the law of God of which the author thinks is about Christian endurance, not Mosaic obedience.

At 7:48 AM, Anonymous Martin Hughes said...

I didn't mean to be Unknown in posting the previous comment. While I was struggling with the requirement to prove I wasn't a robot my name (Martin Hughes, Wokingham UK) disappeared.

At 10:42 AM, Blogger Romy French said...

WOW, awesome blog, please check out my blog as well, Ruach ha Kodesh, and feel free to leave comments..Shalom and God bless you all.

At 10:46 AM, Blogger Romy French said...

WOW, awesome blog, please check out my blog as well, Ruach ha Kodesh, and feel free to leave comments..Shalom and God bless you all.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger Romy French said...

I hope my last comment went through, awesome blog. Please feel free to check out my blog as well Shalom :)

At 11:27 PM, Blogger ms.jotling said...

i've been pondering on this lately...

thanks for writing about your findings!

At 11:28 PM, Blogger ms.jotling said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:52 AM, Blogger Theresa Coburn said...

Thank you for the information and perspective. I've been writing about God breaking forth over the Israelites (and us) and came across your blog.

Blessings to you.

At 1:27 AM, Blogger Lagenda said...

Not wishing to be impious or irreverent but I have often wondered if the shinning face of Moses after seeing God was in a fact a radiation burn from being exposed to the radiance of God. 'Just wondered.

At 3:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello children of the one true living God, please pray that you will be accounted worthy to escape the hour of temptation that is going to come upon all the earth. And pray that you will also be accounted worthy to stand in the presence of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, it's my devotion for tonight, am really confused but this helped :D

At 4:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been able to 'see' patches of light and colour since 'giving my life to Jesus' in my early twenties. I was concerned as to whether this was ok, or whether it was dodgy 'auric' divination given by Lucifer ('Light bringer'), as in the past I had taken drugs and been spiritually nosy! I have asked many Christians for prayer concerning this, and invariably got a non-commital smile and no opinion. The phenomenon of seeing light around certain people,or in their eyes, has increased over time and in the last few years people have said they can see it on me. When I have shared my concerns with my husband, he has asked me to reflect on the fruit of these occasions. One lady who calls me 'Fairy Godmother' has publically pointed my 'sparkling' out to others, and this group now are overcoming heroin habits they've had for years. Passers by however have asked me to 'Keep it away from me' or 'Turn it down! You look like a lighthouse'. Others have said to me that the reason people are disturbed is that I can 'see peoples souls'. As a result I can understand that this is unsettling both for other people, Moses and myself! In a way I think it was a bit cowardly of Moses to cover the shining with a veil, but he is also described as the most humble of men, so maybe self-doubt and reliance on God is part of the territory! It is mentioned elsewhere in the Bible (eg Daniel) that the righteous shall shine like the sun etc. Perhaps The Light is a bit more literal than we thought!

At 5:54 AM, Blogger Mokete Khanye said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger Mokete Khanye said...

Thank you for this post, obviously I found it because I had the same question you yourself had. As I read some of the comments something cleared up for me. Exodus 34:29 - 30 states " when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the Two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Isrealites saw Moses they were afraid to come near him." this lead to think that perhaps Moses veiled his face in order to ensure that the Isrealites who were still weak of spirit, constantly requiring some physical manifestation of God, would not make the mistake of making him into a God.

At 8:36 AM, Blogger Nicholas Williams said...

Well said! I've been studying out the latter half of this comment for some time now (mainly the idea of heaven as a place or something else) and have seen similar things and come to similar conclusions (obviously my studies are ongoing, as I'm sure yours is as well). However, I would also just throw out there that the simple(r) understanding of this "veil" can be inspiring for change as well. As I've also studied out, Moses was riddled with insecurity in certain times in his walk with God and so, if this is simply a veil he wears as a response to the shame, embarrassment, etc. of the glory fading, then it would motivate us to live differently. To change, as we should be able to walk confidently and with all boldness so that and because the glory of the Lord will be shown through us.
Also, sorry for the errors and run-ons in my typing, you're a very good writer haha.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Cynia Criscuolo said...

Thanks, Christine. This answered the question I was searching for. Blessings

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Daniel Allen said...

I would have to disagree with where this conversation is going. Moses veiled his face so the sons of Israel would not look intently at the fading of it, and the reason why is because after experiencing the true glory of God Moses knew the shining of his own face wasn't it. Moses knew the futility of Israel's hearts. They were quick to worship things other than God and Moses' face was no different. His heart was for them to experience the Glory of God (Exo. 34:9), nothing less.

But here's the interesting thing: Moses' shining was truly symbolic of the Law. He received both at the same time, and, indeed, as with his face, the Law would fade, being surpassed in the fulfillment of the Son (2 Cor. 3:10-11). The Israelites' minds were hardened (2 Cor. 3:14), unable to understand that the face of Moses was subject to fading and was not the source of glory or worthy of worship.

God sought a people of His own.

He gave the Law to Israel as the incompleteness that was powerless to save (Rom. 8:3), subject to fading in light of the Glory to come, yet absolutely true. He gave to them part of the story but waited until the fullness of time to reveal the finish (tetelestai). Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15) and the radiance of the Glory of God (Heb 1:3), through whom the veil has been lifted and we look intently -- fixated (Heb:12-2) -- on the glory of God as through a mirror. Jesus has fulfilled the glory of the Law, though it brought death, and ushered those who call on His name into the Glory of the Son. Now God has His people, The Bride of Christ, the fulfillment and remnant of Israel (Is 10:21).

And what are we to do? The whole point of this text was an exhortation to rise to boldness in our speech from this hope of surpassing Glory secured by Jesus.

Bless you all,


At 3:02 AM, Blogger David Baxter said...

We also have to remember that YHWH uses patterns.
Look at the similarities of Moses and Yeshua with the veil and presence of YHWH.

YHWH showed himself to Moses and His Glory covered him and He then audibly declared Moses to be righteous and for all of Israel to listen to him for he will teach them His Law. Moses veiled himself because the presence of YHWH was on Him and it showed on his face. This was the beginning of the ministry of Moses leading YHWH's people to a whole new life for a future purpose.

YHWHW showed himself to Yeshus in the form of a dove as Holy Spirit while He audibly declared Yeshua as the Messiah to the people. Now the veil which represented the presence of YHWH just like on Moses was eventually pulled back forever once Yeshua gave his life and the veil was torn in the temple.

YHWH used Moses to begin the ministry to defeat sin by giving LAWS to obey so they would not sin and have life.

disobedience to the Law was sin and sin equals death

YHWH used Yeshua to continue and fulfill the ministry to defeat sin by renewing the Laws to put them on our hearts and mind through Holy Spirit. This would convict us not to sin so we would have eternal life.

Yeshua's life, death and resurrection defeated sin and gave us a way for to have connection back with the YHWH again and the freedom was there to obey His commands without condemnation or death.

I think this is where people get confused. We still have the same Laws but under new terms. It was a contract renewal. When Yeshua talks about Him fulfilling it doesn't mean abolish. Look at Strongs Hebrew and Greek for both of those words. Fulfill & Abolish. Very different. Scripture never says abolish.
He's still fulfilling them until when just like He said "When heaven and earth pass away". As far as I know you and I are still here right along with earth so until we're gone baby we still obey His Laws. Now we can't do all of them because we don't have a temple and a priesthood and also some are only meant for Priests, Men, Women, Children and etc... but we can do the ones that still apply.
Look into the Feast of YHWH. you'll notice that all the fall feasts refer to what's still to come. Why would we not be celebrate something that hasn't even happened yet. hmmm.

Love, Dave

At 9:57 PM, Blogger Junious Bell said...

I think Moses may have vield his face. As a sign as to know one being able to enter into Gods' glory without bieng a high priest. Thus Moses was a type of Priest. The Hebrews at his time were not and only for a moment allowed to to get a hint at Gods glory when he spoke to them. Remember when God spoke to all of isreal decending on mount siani. And the childrwn of isreal quaked and clamored. And were sore afraid. That they said; "it is ebough now Moses, we do not want to speak to God directly lest we die. So you speak to us for him". Now only in Christ are we all made priests. Thus allowing us to have the postion and relationship with God to enter in his shikina glory. Now this was not made until Jesus death on the cross and the temple wail being rent in two. Now qe have axcess to boldly enter into his glory. The people then the Hebrews were anmazed and afraid. Because they weren't elevated to the postion that we hold un

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Junious Bell said...

I think Moses may have vield his face. As a sign as to know one being able to enter into Gods' glory without bieng a high priest. Thus Moses was a type of Priest. The Hebrews at his time were not and only for a moment allowed to to get a hint at Gods glory when he spoke to them. Remember when God spoke to all of isreal decending on mount siani. And the childrwn of isreal quaked and clamored. And were sore afraid. That they said; "it is ebough now Moses, we do not want to speak to God directly lest we die. So you speak to us for him". Now only in Christ are we all made priests. Thus allowing us to have the postion and relationship with God to enter in his shikina glory. Now this was not made until Jesus death on the cross and the temple wail being rent in two. Now qe have axcess to boldly enter into his glory. The people then the Hebrews were anmazed and afraid. Because they weren't elevated to the postion that we hold un

At 10:38 AM, Blogger James Richardson said...

If I may be a little contrary, nothing in the Exodus passage says that Moses glow faded. But for the sake of argument, let's say it did (and it must have at some point when he died). You could interpret that as saying a human being fades, but the law (Torah) is eternal. The focus is on the law, not the messenger. I also think it a slippery slope to argue that the law is no longer with the Jewish people (Paul never argues that, quite the opposite). Jesus also says he comes to uphold "the law and the prophets" not replace it. When asked what is the law, he responds with "love God, love your neighbor" (the Hebrew Shema in Deuteronomy 6). He is saying the law is misunderstood (and still is). Paul's point in 2 Corinthians is convoluted (like much of Paul) but he seems to be saying that we don't need to be afraid to look upon Christ the way people were afraid to look upon Moses (wouldn't you be afraid if you saw him glowing?).

At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God had told Moses to strike the rock the first time. The ad one time they needed water God told him to speak to the rock. This is a picture of Christ even then. It shows that Christ would be struck and mocked once to save us from sin but after that we were to speak to Christ as Moses was to speak to the rock. God will not allow Jesus to be struck (crucified) again. Once was enough for all the sin of the whole world for all time. That's why God said speak to the rock the second time. After Jesus was crucified and raised the new way of speaking directly to God and him. There was no longer a hindrance (veil) between you and God. So when Moses struck the rock he went against God himself and unknowingly sinned and this prevented him from going into the promised land. Imagine after he understood what he had done through anger the consequences of his actions. We as a people are just like Moses when we go against God's word we don't think of the future consequences we will have to pay. Moses made it to heaven but he didn't get to enjoy the land that he was leading the people to. Remember to speak when God says speak and strike when God says strike but do what what God says to enjoy his blessings


Post a Comment

<< Home