Moses's Shining Face Ex. 34

The Shining Face of Moses

In reading Exodus 34 we see the glory of God reflected in the face of Moses (29-35).  We learn of the greatness and glory of Yahweh, that even the reflected glory could not be looked upon. Israel knew from this that God was indeed present with them in the Tabernacle. As this was repeated with every instance of Moses entering the presence of God, Israel knew that God had chosen Moses and had made a covenant with them through Moses.

With the death of Moses, this might have just been one of those odd circumstances in the life of Moses. However, Paul brings up this story in 2 Cor. 3:7-18.  He compares this covenant with the New Covenant of Jesus.

He makes a point out of the fact that such reflected glory did not last, it was being 'brought to an end' (vs. 7, 11, 13). He acknowledged the greatness and the glory of this first covenant but simply states that it pales in comparison with the New Covenant (9). He called it a ministry of death, a ministry of condemnation (9). In contrast the New Covenant is a ministry of the Spirit and a ministry of righteousness (9). As such the New far exceeds and surpasses the Old in glory (9, 10). The old was a ministry that was coming to an end, whereas the New is permanent (11).

An interesting point is made that, with the wearing of the veil over his face, Moses concealed the fact that the glory was fading away.  Paul states that as long as Moses wore the veil they were not able to discern such fading glory. A play on this is then made that such 'veil' still remains on those who rejected the New Covenant, and with that, they cannot see that the glory of the old is in fact faded away. When one turns to the Lord, then the veil is removed and the glory of the New Covenant enlightens the soul.  We, as believers in Jesus as the Christ, with unveiled face, behold the glory of the Lord. Such beholding of His glory helps transform us into His image. As we are transformed we begin to reflect HIS glory.