Fading Glory of the Old Covenant EGP Blog post from November 19, 2012

In reading Exodus 34:28–35, we find that Moses went atop Mount Sinai to write down the Ten Commandments of the old covenant. Having spent 40 days face-to-face talking with God, “the skin of his face shone”, scaring everyone. After coaxing them to come closer, he told them “everything that the Lord had spoken to him” and then put a veil over his face. He would remove the veil every time he spoke to God, tell the people what He said to him, and then put the veil back on.

Being that the people were scared, you’d think that he’d put the veil on BEFORE speaking to the people, but instead he put it on AFTER. So…why?

2 Corinthians 3:12–13 (NASB)

[12] Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, [13] and 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.

So, while it’s true that the “glory of his face” scared them and was so bright that they “couldn’t look intently” at his face, the real reason he veiled it was because that glory was fading and he didn’t want them to see that.

While this may seem deceptive at first, it is actually symbolic. The truth is, the covenant of the Ten Commandments was never intended to last on its own. The sacrifices of the old covenant didn’t deal with the problem of sin. But even more so, while it’s true that, “until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished,” however, Revelation tells us that heaven and earth WILL pass away!

2 Corinthians 3:14–16 (NASB)

[14] But 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. [15] But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; [16] but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

2 Corinthians 3:14 Or remains, it not being revealed that it is done away in Christ

Key verses

Matthew 5:8; Revelation 21:1; 2 Corinthians 3:7–11; Hebrews 9:19–28; Matthew 27:50–51