We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.2 Corinthians 3:13-18
Yay, we have reached my part of the Bible. Look at that, Veil is mentioned 6 times in 6 verses. Now that has to be significant. But note it is “veil” and not “Vail”. Got nothing to do with me after all. But of course over the years I have had many comments about it. And most seem to focus on the fact that the Vail is removed. Now that is hardly fair. I am making this frivolous comment so you don’t have to.
What is interesting is that Paul is emphasizing, through repetition, the fact that Moses face had to be veiled after “seeing” the glory of God on Mt Sinai. This is all described in Exodus 33 and 34. In Ex 34:29-35 it is made clear that when Moses left the presence of God his face shone radiantly. The people were afraid to come near him so bright was the radiance. Yet as we see in Exodus 33 the glory was only the afterglow of God’s radiance. Yes the word in the translation (Ex 33:23) is “you will only see my back” or my back parts, see me from behind. I think a good translation is “after glow”, (Lit. behindness). Come on guys, you are only seeing a grossly dimmed down version of the true glory of God, from which Moses was protected. But even so it scared them. Back even to that extent, Moses has to be veiled when he is with them. Notice too from the text it appears that the dimmed down glory, though fading, was renewed each time Moses went into the presence of God.
This is the thought that first captures Paul’s attention. The veil becomes significant not for hiding the glory of God from the people as it was in the original context but as Paul’s thought develops, this same veil covers their minds. This veil can only be removed by believing in Jesus. The veil becomes a veil of separation, much like the veil in the temple which was torn down at Christ’s resurrection. There is much to ponder in this but I will leave that for a study focus for you to do in the future.
There is a veil over our minds. 2 Cor 4:3-4 infers the veil is there for people who are perishing, put there by Satan. It is he who has blinded the minds. When the veil is removed we can see and reflect God’s glory as we were created to do. God’s purpose is for us to be unveiled, not veiled. God never intended for us to be veiled. Moses was only veiled because the people were afraid of the lesser fading glory. God wants us to be able to project so much more of His glory.
A question for you to ponder: are these two ideas linked? The plax with the envelope that had to be broken to authenticate the message within, linked to veiling and unveiling. Envelopes covering the authenticity and veils hiding the glory. Did Paul link these two thoughts? Time for you to do some pondering. There’s more coming, wait for it.
Some useful veiled comments:
A bride at her second marriage does not wear a veil. She wants to see what she is getting.Helen Rowland
A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil.Victor Hugo
Hope is nature’s veil for hiding truth’s nakedness.Alfred Nobel
Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.C S Lewis
All is mystery; but he is a slave who will not struggle to penetrate the dark veil.Benjamin Disraeli
Our own self-love draws a thick veil between us and our faults.Lord Chesterfield
While these comments of mine today are veiled comments, perhaps the Gems are vailed comments.Ian Vail