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12 Since, then, we have such a hope, we act with great boldness, 13not 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. 14But 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. 15Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; 16but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And 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.


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12. such hope—of the future glory, which shall result from the ministration of the Gospel (2Co 3:8, 9).

plainness of speech—openness; without reserve (2Co 2:17; 4:2).

13. We use no disguise, "as Moses put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel might not look steadfastly upon the end of that which was to be done away" [Ellicott and others]. The view of Ex 34:30-35, according to the Septuagint is adopted by Paul, that Moses in going in to speak to God removed the veil till he came out and had spoken to the people; and then when he had done speaking, he put on the veil that they might not look on the end, or the fading, of that transitory glory. The veil was the symbol of concealment, put on directly after Moses' speaking; so that God's revelations by him were interrupted by intervals of concealment [ALFORD]. But Alford's view does not accord with 2Co 3:7; the Israelites "could not look steadfastly on the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance." Plainly Moses' veil was put on because of their not having been able to "look steadfastly at him." Paul here (2Co 3:13) passes from the literal fact to the truth symbolized by it, the blindness of Jews and Judaizers to the ultimate end of the law: stating that Moses put on the veil that they might not look steadfastly at (Christ, Ro 10:4) the end of that (law) which (like Moses' glory) is done away. Not that Moses had this purpose; but often God attributes to His prophets the purpose which He has Himself. Because the Jews would not see, God judicially gave them up so as not to see. The glory of Moses' face is antitypically Christ s glory shining behind the veil of legal ordinances. The veil which has been taken off to the believer is left on to the unbelieving Jew, so that he should not see (Isa 6:10; Ac 28:26, 27). He stops short at the letter of the law, not seeing the end of it. The evangelical glory of the law, like the shining of Moses' face, cannot be borne by a carnal people, and therefore remains veiled to them until the Spirit comes to take away the veil (2Co 3:14-17) [Cameron].

14-18. Parenthetical: Of Christians in general. He resumes the subject of the ministry, 2Co 4:1.

mindsGreek, "mental perceptions"; "understandings."

blinded—rather, "hardened." The opposite to "looking steadfastly at the end" of the law (2Co 3:13). The veil on Moses' face is further typical of the veil that is on their hearts.

untaken away … which veil—rather, "the same veil … remaineth untaken away [literally, not unveiled], so that they do not see THAT it (not the veil as English Version, but 'THE Old Testament,' or covenant of legal ordinances) is done away (2Co 3:7, 11, 13) in Christ" or, as Bengel, "Because it is done away in Christ," that is, it is not done away save in Christ: the veil therefore remains untaken away from them, because they will not come to Christ, who does away, with the law as a mere letter. If they once saw that the law is done away in Him, the veil would be no longer on their hearts in reading it publicly in their synagogues (so "reading" means, Ac 15:21). I prefer the former.

15. the veil is—rather, "a veil lieth upon their heart" (their understanding, affected by the corrupt will, Joh 8:43; 1Co 2:14). The Tallith was worn in the synagogue by every worshipper, and to this veil hanging over the breast there may be an indirect allusion here (see on 1Co 11:4): the apostle making it symbolize the spiritual veil on their heart.

16. Moses took off the veil on entering into the presence of the Lord. So as to the Israelites whom Moses represents, "whensoever their heart (it) turns (not as English Version, 'shall turn') to the Lord, the veil is (by the very fact; not as English Version, 'shall be') taken away." Ex 34:34 is the allusion; not Ex 34:30, 31, as Alford thinks. Whenever the Israelites turn to the Lord, who is the Spirit of the law, the veil is taken off their hearts in the presence of the Lord: as the literal veil was taken off by Moses in going before God: no longer resting on the dead letter, the veil, they by the Spirit commune with God and with the inner spirit of the Mosaic covenant (which answers to the glory of Moses' face unveiled in God's presence).

17. the Lord—Christ (2Co 3:14, 16; 2Co 4:5).

is that Spirit—is THE Spirit, namely, that Spirit spoken of in 2Co 3:6, and here resumed after the parenthesis (2Co 3:7-16): Christ is the Spirit and "end" of the Old Testament, who giveth life to it, whereas "the letter killeth" (1Co 15:45; Re 19:10, end).

where the Spirit of the Lord is—in a man's "heart" (2Co 3:15; Ro 8:9, 10).

there is liberty—(Joh 8:36). "There," and there only. Such cease to be slaves to the letter, which they were while the veil was on their heart. They are free to serve God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus (Php 3:3): they have no longer the spirit of bondage, but of free sonship (Ro 8:15; Ga 4:7). "Liberty" is opposed to the letter (of the legal ordinances), and to the veil, the badge of slavery: also to the fear which the Israelites felt in beholding Moses' glory unveiled (Ex 34:30; 1Jo 4:18).

18. But we all—Christians, as contrasted with the Jews who have a veil on their hearts, answering to Moses' veil on his face. He does not resume reference to ministers till 2Co 4:1.

with open face—Translate, "with unveiled face" (the veil being removed at conversion): contrasted with "hid" (2Co 4:3).

as in a glass—in a mirror, namely, the Gospel which reflects the glory of God and Christ (2Co 4:4; 1Co 13:12; Jas 1:23, 25).

are changed into the same image—namely, the image of Christ's glory, spiritually now (Ro 8:29; 1Jo 3:3); an earnest of the bodily change hereafter (Php 3:21). However many they be, believers all reflect the same image of Christ more or less: a proof of the truth of Christianity.

from glory to glory—from one degree of glory to another. As Moses' face caught a reflection of God's glory from being in His presence, so believers are changed into His image by beholding Him.

even as, &c.—Just such a transformation "as" was to be expected from "the Lord the Spirit" (not as English Version, "the Spirit of the Lord") [Alford] (2Co 3:17): "who receives of the things of Christ, and shows them to us" (Joh 16:14; Ro 8:10, 11). (Compare as to hereafter, Ps 17:15; Re 22:4).




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