Brethren, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech – unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil lies upon their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, beholding the glory of the Lord with unveiled face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:12-18).
So often I am caught up in daily noise to really feel close to God. This is not His issue, but mine and I find in this passage such a simple direction back to Him. We see in this passage an invitation to experience God as Moses did, by turning to the Lord the veil is lifted from our hearts and we can behold His glory.
The veil in this passage has brought forward several themes in the writings of many of the Church Fathers. Firstly, the direct reference to Moses covering his face once he returned to the people after spending time in God’s presence “32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.” Exodus 34:32–33 (KJV 1900).
The veil compared with the minds of those who did not see the truth of the Gospel at that time. St Jerome comments “The curtain of the temple is torn, for that which had been veiled in Judea is unveiled to all the nations; the curtain is torn and the mysteries of the law are revealed to the faithful, but to unbelievers they are hidden to this very day. When Moses, the Old Testament, is read aloud by the Jews on every Sabbath, according to the testimony of the apostle: “the veil covers their hearts.”18 They read the law, true enough, but they do not understand because their eyes have grown so dim that they cannot see. They are, indeed, like those of whom Scripture says: “They have eyes but see not; they have ears but hear not.” Homily 66 on Psalm 88 (89).19″
So in the same way that Moses had to hide the remains of the splendour of God on his face with a veil, a new covering, that by our hardened hearts and unbelief is stopping us from seeing the glory of God in Christ! In the words of St John Chrysostom “The purpose of the veil was not to hide Moses but to prevent the Jews from seeing him, for they were unable to do so.26 But when we turn to the Lord, the veil is naturally taken away. When Moses talked with the Jews, he had his face covered, but when he talked with God, the veil was removed. Likewise when we turn to the Lord, we shall see the glory of the law and the face of the Lawgiver uncovered. And not only this, we shall then be in the same frame of reference as Moses. Homilies on the Epistles of Paul to the Corinthians 7.4.“
This passage holds a special place for me, as the once chosen for my by my Bishop (Metropolitan Hilarion of ROCOR) to be read when I was tonsured a reader. It helps to remind me to remove my own personal veils (perhaps not often enough) and look to the Lord for guidance.
where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty
Simple and beautiful