“Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, not like Moses, who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was being set aside. But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” ( II Corinthians 3:12 – 16)
I had promised myself if the Epistle passage did not appeal to me today, I would put off writing on it and comment on one of the other two. However (glad to say) Paul did not disappoint! Paul is pretty scathing in his remarks about the “people of Israel” by which I assume he means Jews who have not opened themselves to the Good News of Jesus. Considering that he used to be numbered among such Jews, you would think he would be more gentle. I guess since he is writing to the Corinthians, Gentiles, he felt he could “froth” at the mouth a little.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (Verses 17 – 18)
This brings to my mind (sooner than I had expected) the questions I had about the Old Testament passage. Why Moses did what he did, and why the Israelites reacted the way they did. And my unasked question as to whether we, not having the type of direct contact that Moses had with the Divine, can have “glowing” faces ourselves. Pondering this – Moses, except for when he wanted to impart the unvarnished word from the Divine, kept his face covered. Was it because the Israelites were accepting enough of the Divine? Were they too new in faith and untested that it was not for them to be exposed to such reflected glory of God? And if that is so, how does Paul know that these new Christians, these Corinthians, are ready? Or did the acceptance of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection prepare them more than the Israelites were prepared fresh out of Egypt?
“Therefore, since it is by God’s mercy that we are engaged in this ministry, we do not lose heart. We have renounced the shameful things that one hides; we refuse to practice cunning or to falsify God’s word; but by the open statement of the truth we commend ourselves to the conscience of everyone in the sight of God.” (Chapter 4, verses 1 – 2)
Hint beloved reader – Paul is not using the royal “we” meaning himself and his audience. He is referring to himself and those who minister with him. Now, if the Corinthians hold as tightly to the gospel and the word that is preached as Paul does, they too will not lose heart. And will receive all the other blessings that Paul refers to. Paul may be generous in accounting faith and devotion to his audience BUT he expects to see the fruits of that faith.
One last thought, beloved reader, and then I will close. Paul says by “open statement of the truth” and it reminds me again of Moses covering the glory that was on his face from communing with the Lord. I have to wonder if Moses had made more of an effort to draw the Israelites into commune with the Divine if the outcome of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah would have been different. Something to ponder. And to keep in mind when our visage glows from the knowledge of the Lord. As Paul did, beloved reader, spread the word! Selah!