The past couple of weeks, a particular piece of scripture kept coming to mind. So, this morning I decided to carve out some time to look up what the particular scripture was and study it a bit.
As a side-note, when I am studying a particular set of verses I always like to read it from various Bible translations and read the surrounding text, along with researching who was speaking, who they were speaking to and what the purpose was. So, before I share the key scriptures, I want to share some things that I found to help us fully comprehend it. Let's back up first, to the 2nd book of the Bible, Exodus. Here we read about Moses meeting with The LORD where he was given the Ten Commandments. Exodus 34:28-35 "Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai. When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. But whenever he entered the Lord’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the Lord."
Another important thing to understand is the significance of the veil in relation to our ability to approach God directly, face to face, as Moses did. While under the Old Covenant, they were to obey the laws and other regulations fully, however, there was a problem, humans are sinful and unholy and could not approach God directly in the Holy Temple. So, before Christ died on the cross, only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once a year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God's presence to make atonement for their sins through the sacrifice of unblemished animals (Leviticus 16). However, the moment Christ died on the cross, (Christ being the purest Unblemished Lamb) the veil or curtain was literally torn in half. Matthew 27:50-51 "And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split." Mind you, this was no small curtain, it was approximately 60 feet high and suspected to be about 4 inches thick. Without the restrictive law of Moses and the thick veil separating us from God, we are able to approach Him directly...face to face. Hebrews 4:14-16 "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are —yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
So now with that foundation, here is the key scriptures in two different translations.
2 Corinthians 3:15-18 "Even to this day when Moses (law) is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
2 Corinthians 3:16-18
"Whenever, though, they turn to face God as Moses did, God removes the veil and there they are—face-to-face! They suddenly recognize that God is a living, personal presence, not a piece of chiseled stone (tablet with 10 commandments). And when God is personally present, a living Spirit, that old, constricting legislation (law) is recognized as obsolete. We’re free of it! All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him."
How beautiful is that!! We are able, at any moment, to sit face to face with God, and as we do He transforms us gradually to glow brighter and more beautiful as we allow Him to enter our lives and we fully surrender our lives. This glow and beauty is seen by all and it's purpose it to draw a watching world into that same transforming presence of God!
So, "...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:1-2)