Moses - A Type of Christ
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Exodus, chapter 34. In the story of the children of Israel, the intercession of Moses is over, and the people have been restored to fellowship. God is going to take up His dealing with them at exactly the place where He left off. This is an illustration of the manner in which God deals with us today. If we lose our fellowship with Him, if we break our fellowship with Him, we do not grow in grace while we are out of fellowship; we do not progress in our Christian experience; we are at a standstill. When our fellowship is restored, we take up exactly where we left off.

Sometimes God reveals some particular thing that He has in mind for us and we go out of fellowship for that reason or another. When we come back into fellowship–months or years may have transpired–we may have it in our minds that we will not have to face that thing when we come back into fellowship with God, but we will; it will be right there. God had given to the children of Israel the Ten Commandments on tables of stone. When fellowship is restored, I repeat, He takes up right where He left off. In chapter 34, we read from verse 1:

Exodus 34

1And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
2And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
3And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
5And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
8And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
9And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O LORD, let my LORD, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

Let us go back over this paragraph and notice that the first few suggestions that are made are related to restored fellowship. The first thing that attracts our attention is what is presented in verse 1: “Hew thee two tables of stone.” When we were studying chapter 24 of the book of Exodus, we found that when Moses went up on the mountain, God had hewn out two tables of stone; He had them all ready for Moses when he got up on top of the mountain. Those were the two tables of stone that Moses broke in pieces when he came down from the mountain.

You will remember that nowhere did God rebuke Moses for this. Moses did not do it because he had a fit of temper; he did it to illustrate forcefully to the people that they had broken their word to God. They had said, “All that God has said, we will do,” but they did not; they broke the commandments God had given even before they were dry, so to speak, upon the two tables of stone. Now that Moses was to go back up into the mountain to talk with God, God said, “You bring the tables of stone this time, and I will write on the tables of stone the Ten Commandments.”

Christ the Key Character

Therein lies a lesson which we merely mention. The Lord Jesus Christ is the key character in all the Word of God. Everything points directly to Him no matter where we are in the Word of God. Whether it is the book of Genesis or the book of Revelation, it all points to the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, there are many types of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Word of God. Many of the characters in the Word of God are types of the Lord Jesus Christ. Moses is one of the greatest types of the Lord Jesus Christ in all the Word of God.

This is not something I have said; it is something that the Word of God declares. Long before the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth, God promised that some day He would raise up a prophet like unto Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15), and He was referring to the Lord Jesus Christ when He made that promise. So firmly did the Jews believe this that when the Lord Jesus Christ claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah, and proved it by the things He did, they said, “Is this the prophet like unto Moses?” (John 1:21). So Moses is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is interesting to notice in that light, then, that the law that God gave without a mediator had to be broken. It is impossible for men to keep it. But when God raised up an intercessor in the person of Moses, and Moses, the intercessor, took that law to the people, the people were able to observe the law of God in type.

Moses as Intercessor

Go with me to the book of Romans, chapter 8, that you may see a practical application of this truth:

Romans 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…

You will want to stop there because, as has been pointed out before, that last phrase does not belong in the first verse; it belongs down in verse 4; that is where it is found in the original.

Romans 8

1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…
2[ Notice ] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [ that was the condition of the law that God gave in Exodus, chapter 24; it was weak because of the flesh; the flesh could not keep the law ], God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

What man could not do in his own strength, the Lord Jesus Christ, that great Intercessor, did. Moses is an illustration of that, for when Moses came down from the mountain and found that the people had already broken the law of God, he broke the tables of stone. This time when he went up into the mountain, he took the tables of stone with him and God wrote on the tables of stone the law of God. What did Moses do with the tables this time when he came down from the mountain?

The first time, before Israel sinned, Moses had been in the mountain forty days and forty nights. Now he had gone up for the second time:

Exodus 34

28And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.

Do not be alarmed about this verse as the critics are. They say, “Here is a contradiction in the Word of God.” In the first verse of Exodus, chapter 34, God said He would do the writing. If you read verse 28 carelessly, it would seem that Moses did the writing. Well, God did the writing. The second pronoun “he” in verse 28 refers to “Lord.”

Law Fulfilled In Christ

Turn to the book of Deuteronomy where Moses rehearses some of this activity. It is not happening for the first time in Deuteronomy, chapter 10; he is telling it again:

Deuteronomy 10

1At that time the LORD said unto me [ he is talking about the time described in Exodus, chapter 34 ], Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first, and come up unto me into the mount, and make thee an ark of wood.

We are not told that in Exodus, chapter 34, but Moses was retelling the story. He said at that time, “God told me to make an ark of wood.”

Deuteronomy 10

2And I will write on the tables the words that were in the first tables which thou brakest, and thou shalt put them in the ark.
3And I made an ark of shittim wood, and hewed two tables of stone like unto the first, and went up into the mount, having the two tables in mine hand.
4And he [ God ] wrote on the tables, according to the first writing, the ten commandments, which the LORD spake unto you in the mount out of the midst of the fire in the day of the assembly: and the LORD gave them unto me.
5And I turned myself and came down from the mount, and put the tables in the ark which I had made; and there they be, as the LORD commanded me.

You see, the second time the law was given, the tables were not broken, because there was an intercessor. Because there was an intercessor, the law was placed in the Ark. That is all we will say about the Ark now, because when we begin a study of the Tabernacle, we will be talking about the Ark, which was one of the pieces of furniture, and about why the law was put in the Ark. Suffice it to say now that the Ark is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the law in Christ is fulfilled. The law out of Christ can never be fulfilled.

Now back to Exodus, chapter 34. Moses did exactly what God had asked him to do. He hewed the two tables; he went up into the mount, and the Lord descended in the cloud. This is the pillar of cloud which we have met before in the book of Exodus and which was the symbol of the presence of God. God stood with Moses there on the mount.

Proclaiming the Character of God

Notice the last statement in verse 5. He proclaimed the name of the Lord. This is a very significant statement in the Old Testament. Names in the Old Testament were always given on the basis of the character or projected character of the individual. We give names to our children for a great many reasons, but in that day the names were always significant.

God had much to say about His name. You remember when, in the book of Genesis, the Angel of the Lord was wrestling with Jacob (Genesis 32:24-32), Jacob said, “What is your name?” Instead of telling the name, the character was presented. You remember that when Moses went into the land of Egypt, he said, “Who shall I tell these people sent me?” God said, “Tell them 'I AM' hath sent you” (Exodus 3:14). That was a name of God.

Notice in verses 6 and 7 the name of God–or more accurately, the character of God. It is an amazing thing to me that the law, with all of its demands, should be presented along with a picture of the most gracious God. That is the picture we find here; let us look at it:

Exodus 34

6And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, the LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

You may say, as we read that, “Why do you say this is a picture of a gracious God? He may be partly gracious, but not altogether.” I would suggest that it is a picture of an altogether gracious God. Let me show you why I say that. When Moses speaks in this chapter, the first thing he mentions is the LORD. Every letter is capitalized, so it is the English translation of the Hebrew word “Jehovah.” If we were able to take the time to review what we have told you about the meaning of the name, “Jehovah,” you would realize why I say this is a picture of a gracious God. Jehovah–“I am the one that healeth thee”; Jehovah–“I am the Shepherd,” etc.

Then He says, “The LORD God.” “God” is a translation of the name “Elohim,” which means “all power,” or “the powerful one.” What He is saying here is “Jehovah, the powerful one.” Then He lists His attributes, some of which are familiar and need no great explanation; though if you want a study that would encourage your own heart, you might trace these words with a good concordance and notice the pictures they give of God. First of all, He is merciful. We don't need to talk about that; you know what it is; you need mercy. He is gracious; He is longsuffering; He is abundant in goodness and in truth.

A Gracious God

Those two words are quite all right the way they are, but there is another meaning in the Hebrew that I like because it suggests something else about God. The word “goodness” is translated “lovingkindness” in many places in the Old Testament. The word “truth” is translated “faithful” in many places in the Old Testament. You see what that means? God is merciful; He is gracious; He is longsuffering; He is abundant in lovingkindness and abundant in faithfulness. Don't forget that word “abundant.” Sometimes we are kind only up to a point, aren't we? Sometimes we are gracious only up to a point. But he is abundant in it!

Exodus 34

7Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin…

Up to this point, I think we will all agree that this is a picture of a gracious God. But when we read the last two statements, we are not so sure, for there we read:

Exodus 34

7…and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

We say that is not a very gracious God. He will not clear the guilty, and He visits iniquity upon children and their children to the third and fourth generation. But that is not what the verse says. As a matter of fact, the statement, “will by no means clear the guilty,” is an unhappy translation. Literally, it should read, “will not utterly destroy.” There you see the graciousness of God again, don't you? Look at it: He is the LORD Who will not utterly destroy. Oh, He could; destruction is deserved, but He will not utterly do it.

Gracious In Judgment

In the last statement, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children unto the third and fourth generations,” emphasis should be placed upon the last part–the third and fourth generation. Instead of this being an act of vengeance, as some people seem to think, it is an act of mercy; He stops at the third and the fourth generation. That is mercy, for if He did not stop it, it would go on and on and on.

Moses felt that way. Did you notice verse 8? He did not look up and say, “God, why are you so mean?” He made haste and bowed his head toward the earth and worshipped. Look at verse 9. Moses said:

Exodus 34

9…If now I have found grace in thy sight, O LORD, let my LORD, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.

Verse 9 should be interpreted in the light of chapter 33, verse 3, where God said that He would not go with the Israelites to the promised land; He would send an angel before them. He said, “I will not go up in the midst of thee, for thou art a stiffnecked people, lest I consume thee in the way.” God said, “I cannot go with you; you are stiffnecked, and if I go with you, I will wind up consuming you.” Moses said in chapter 34, “God, I did not know you were so gracious; I did not know you were so kind; I did not know you were so faithful. We are a stiffnecked people.”

Notice where he puts himself: “We are a stiffnecked people.” It is one thing to preach at people; it is another thing to put yourself in the same situation with them. What was Moses' plea? “God, we are a stiffnecked people, and because we are, we need a God Who knows something about mercy; we need a God Who knows something about lovingkindness to go with us.” You see, Moses did not feel that God was harsh and vindictive; he felt that He was kind and gracious.

I make mention of that with emphasis because so many people say that the God of the Old Testament is not the God of the New Testament. One of the ecclesiastical leaders of the day, you will remember, said that the God of the Old Testament is a dirty bully, and he did not want Him for his God. He would accept the Jesus of the New Testament, but not the God of the Old. When an individual makes a statement like that, he manifests his own ignorance of the Word of God, because the God of the Old Testament is not a dirty bully. He is kind and gracious.

The Promise of Miracles

Look at verse 10. Fellowship has been restored:

Exodus 34

10And he [God] said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing [an awesome thing, a wondrous thing] that I will do with thee.

What is God saying? “I will perform miracles greater than the miracles that were performed in Egypt; I will do things with you that will be so great that the whole world will comment on what I have done; all the world will realize that I am God.”

I want to make a suggestion. I don't want to be dogmatic about it, but I suggest it to whet your appetite for further study of the Word. I do not believe He was speaking in generalities here. I think He was speaking specifically of something He was going to do in the future that was greater than what He did in the land of Egypt.

When you have time, read Ezekiel, chapters 38 and 39. They describe something God is going to do in the land of Israel and with the nation of Israel. Notice how many times in both chapters we are told that God will do these things that the Jews may know and that the world may know that He is God. The things that are described in those two chapters are greater than any thing that was done for the children of Israel in the land of Egypt.

Read Revelation, chapters 6-19, and remember that the miracles described there are related to the nation of Israel and their deliverance from the Antichrist. Greater are they than what was done in the land of Egypt. For example, in the land of Egypt, there were locusts loosed upon the land. In the Revelation, those locusts are evil spirits, and much more fierce, much more damaging. I think this verse is a definite reference to something that will happen in the future.

The Obligation of Separation

In verse 11, God told the Israelites what He was going to do in the land of Palestine, driving out the Amorites and Perizzites and the Hittities before them. That is what He had told them in chapter 24, but he re-emphasized and reiterated His promise. In verse 12, He re-emphasized their obligation, saying:

Exodus 34

12Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:

In the paragraph which begins with verse 12 and continues through verse 17, He describes how they must be careful about their associations; for if they were not careful about their associations, they would fall into a snare. If they should fall into a snare, they would bring the judgment of God upon them again.

In verse 15, He said they must be careful about the invitations they accepted. “If one calls you for a sacrificial feast,” He said in the last part of verse 15, “you'd better not go. If you do, you will put yourself in a place where you can bring the judgment of God on you.” In verse 16, He said, “Be careful that you don't permit your daughters and your sons to intermarry with these people because if you do, you will find yourself in spiritual adultery.”

Do you notice the progression? In verse 16, it is nothing more than eating with someone a special meal. Before it is finished, marriage is a result. Families are intermarried, and their fellowship with God is broken. We have to be careful about our associations. If you are interested in your children and the kind of marriages they make, be careful with whom they associate. If you permit your children to associate with godless children, you can expect them to marry godless people, and you will have trouble on your hands. That is what God is saying here.

Exodus 34

17Thou shalt make thee no molten gods.

In the paragraph which begins with verse 18, the positive approach is presented. It is negative up to verse 18; now the positive. In the Bible when separation is presented, it is never presented as separation “from” alone; it is always “to.” Remember that. There are a great many people who separate themselves “from” and become nothing but tiresome braggarts; they criticize everyone who does not do everything just the way they do it.

In the paragraph which begins with verse 18, all the positive approaches are presented. The importance of keeping three feast days: the feast of unleavened bread, in verse 18; the feast of firstfruits, or the Feast of Pentecost, in verse 22, and the Feast of Ingathering, in verse 22. When we come to our study of the Tabernacle and the feasts related to it, we will speak more in detail about them. The matter of dedication is presented, and in verse 21 the matter of the day of rest, or the Sabbath day.

The Obligation of Worship

In verse 23, there is a record of an obligation, and we take a little time with it because it is an illustration of a wonderful truth of which I think we need to be reminded:

Exodus 34

23Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the LORD God, the God of Israel.
24For I will cast out the nations before thee, and enlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy land, when thou shalt go up to appear before the LORD thy God thrice in the year.

Do you notice what He is saying? Three time a year all the men in the Jewish families were to go up to Jerusalem to appear before the Lord. That could present a real problem from a social and economic standpoint. It could represent a real problem in those frontier days of Israel in regard to family protection. What does God say? God says, “Go ahead, and don't worry about the women and children at home; I will take care of them. I will cast out the nations before thee; I will enlarge thy borders: [notice now] neither shall any man desire thy land [that is, neither shall any man conquer thy land] when you go up to appear before the Lord thy God, thrice in the year.”

We are reminded of what we read in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, verse 33:

Matthew 6

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

If you read that paragraph, you will find that that word “things” refers to material possessions. God is not saying that all you need to do is to sit down and read your Bible and everyone will take care of all your needs. He is not saying that. He is saying, “If you will put Me first, I will take care of the things.” He is saying to these people, “I want you to come before me three times a year; and if you will come, I will take care of your land. No one will conquer it; no one will be able to take it unto himself.”

The Reflected Glory of God

In the paragraph which begins with verse 29, we come to what may be the most important part of this chapter, if we have any right to say that about any portion of the Word of God. Most of what we have been looking at in this chapter has been in the way of reiteration of what we have already seen in chapter 24. Let us look at the paragraph which begins with verse 29:

Exodus 34

29And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
30And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32And 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.
33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Here is a wonderful spiritual lesson from a number of different standpoints. Think about it–forty days and forty nights in the mountain fellowshipping with God with no interference, no distractions of any kind. When Moses came down from the mountain, his face was shining. It was shining because of the time he had spent with God. As Moses continued his intercession, many times after this forty-day experience he went to commune with God, and always when he came out from the presence of God, his face was shining; the results of fellowship were evident.

Remember that when Peter and John were in a certain city, it was remarked that the people took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). There was something about them that let people know they had spent some time with the Lord. This was the reflected glory of the Lord; it was evident in the face of Moses.

Evidence of Fellowship

Here is something else that to my mind is wonderful, indeed: Moses did not realize it at first. When he first came down from the mountain and the people saw him, his face was shining, and they turned and ran the other way. They were not used to anything like that. He called them back. He did not know that his fact was shining. I would like to draw a parallel for the benefit of all of us by suggesting that if we have spent some time with God and the results are evident in our lives, we will be less conscious of it than anyone else. We won't go around talking about how holy we are; we won't go around talking about how much we prayed and how many hours we spent in this and how many hours we spent in that. We won't need to; it will be evident.

I would like to suggest that if you have to talk about your spirituality, it is pretty good evidence that it is not there. If you have to talk about your closeness to God all the time, it is pretty good evidence of the fact that you are not as close to God as you should be.

This is a little humorous illustration, but sometimes these things help us to fix these truths in our mind. My children were talking about it when they were home for vacation. They go to the same school from which my wife and I graduated. They have prayer before meals and prayer before classes, etc. Different ones are asked to say grace at the meals, and if someone prays an unusually long prayer at mealtime, Dr. Bob Jones, the founder of the school, laughs and says, “I can always tell who is prayed up! I can always tell who is caught up on their devotions. The people who are prayed up and caught up on their devotions don't pray till the food gets cold!” We smile at that, but there is an element of truth in it. If you have to keep on praying needlessly, it is a pretty good sign there is not much time spent in private prayer.

When God's Glory Receded

Moses wist not that his face shone, but everyone else realized that it did. Here is the sad thing about it. When Moses realized that his face shone every time he talked to God, he realized also that it did not keep on shining. Look at verse 33:

Exodus 34

33And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.

This is not a good translation. The translation should be: “And when Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.”

Exodus 34

34But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Get the picture. Here came Moses out from the presence of the Lord. His face was shining from his time of fellowship, and he stood there with shining face and told the children of Israel everything that God wanted them to know, and they basked in that reflected glory. Then when he was through, he put a veil over his face because the glory receded, and he went about his regular duties. When he went in to God again, he took the veil off. His face shone once again and he talked to the people. When he was finished with the message, he put the veil back on his face.

Why did he put that veil back on his face? Because this was not a lasting glory. It is an illustration of living before the Cross and after the Cross.

Paul, a Minister of the Spirit

I have told you repeatedly that the best commentary on any section of the Word of God is the commentary that the Holy Spirit makes in some other portion of the Word. Will you turn with me, please, to II Corinthians, chapter 3, which is a commentary on this paragraph in Exodus, chapter 34. The Apostle says, in verse 1:

II Corinthians 3

1Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you?

You see, some people were criticizing Paul. He was not one of the original twelve. They said, “Where does he get his authority? He does not even have any letters of recommendation.” Paul said, “Do I really need them? Especially when I speak to you Corinthians, do I really need them?”

II Corinthians 3

2Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men:
3Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.

As soon as Paul says that, you know that he is going to preach a little sermon. He said, “I do not need any letters; you are my letter. I am the pen; the Holy Spirit is the writer, and my ministry has been written on your hearts because of the change in your lives. My ministry is different from the ministry that was once written on tables of stone; my ministry is written on the fleshly tables of the heart and not on tables of stone.” Then he says:

II Corinthians 3

4And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward:
5Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

What he is saying here is this: “My, what a big job this is, and we are not sufficient for it. What a responsibility, and we are not sufficient for it; but our sufficiency is of God.”

II Corinthians 3

6Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.

“Moses was a minister of the Old Testament; I am a minister of the New Testament,” is what Paul was saying. “Moses was a minister of the letter, but I am a minister of the spirit.”

The Overshadowing Glory of the Gospel

He explains what he means in verse 7:

II Corinthians 3

7But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

He called this the “ministration of death” because God said that if you do not keep the Ten Commandments, you would die. He said it was glorious; the glory of the face of Moses was so great that the people could not stand to look on it. That is what we learned, was it not? Even so, the glory faded away.

II Corinthians 3

9For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.
10For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.

What does he mean? The glory that was related to the law, the glory that shone on the face of Moses, is overshadowed by the glory of the Gospel, by the glory of the Good News. If you were in a room that was very dark and you had a candle, it would make quite a bit of light after you eyes got adjusted to it, would it not? But if someone turned on a great searchlight, do you think you would notice the candle? It would not have gone out, necessarily; but my, what a difference! That is what Paul is saying here.

II Corinthians 3

11For if that which is done away [ that is, if that which continued to fade away ] was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.
12Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech:
13And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished:

Why did Moses put that veil over his face? Because the glory was fading, and he did not want the children of Israel to see that fading glory.

Then Paul draws another lesson in regard to Israel. In verse 14, he says:

II Corinthians 3

14But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ.
15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart.

That is why it is so hard for a Jew to accept Christianity; they are blinded even as they read the Bible; the veil is over their faces.

II Corinthians 3

16Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away.

The veil is there, but if the Jew turns to the Lord, the veil will be taken away. That is true of all unsaved people. Paul said, “If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (II Corinthians 4:3). That is why the average, unsaved person is not interested in your testimony concerning Christ. But when he takes one step toward the Lord, the light shines; when he takes one step toward the Lord, the veil is taken away.

Conformed to the Image of Christ

Now we come to the paragraph where our lesson really lies. Here we see the difference between the glory of Moses and the glory that is available to you and to me–the difference between the glory which shone on Moses' face and the glory which can be manifested in our lives.

II Corinthians 3

17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18But we all [ Christians ], with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the LORD.

Look at the word “changed.” It is a word that is translated “transfigured” elsewhere in the Scriptures; it is translated “transfigured” in chapter 17 of the Gospel of Matthew. You remember the story: Peter, James, and John were taken by the Lord up on the mountain for the transfiguration. While they were there, He was transfigured before them so that His face shone as the sun and His clothes became white, glistening. They saw the glory of God. What was the difference between the glory that Moses manifested and the glory that Christ manifested? The glory that Moses manifested was a reflected glory; it was something that shone from his face because it was reflected from God. The glory of the Lord at His transfiguration was a glory that shone out from within, because at that moment Jesus Christ let deity break through where it could be seen by the human eye.

Here is a tremendous thing, something so tremendous that all we can do is believe, though it is difficult for us to understand it. As we sit under the ministry of the Word, as we read our Bibles, as we spend time in the Word of God–because the word “glass” in verse 18 is the Word of God–we are transfigured so that the same glory is manifested in our lives. We are transfigured from glory to glory.

Moses, great man of God that he was, spent time with God. Glory was manifested in his face, but it faded away in time. But you and I on this side of the Cross have something so much better. It is not a matter of glory that fades; it is a glory that increases. We go from glory to glory. The more time we spend with God and His Word, as it is ministered by the Holy Spirit, the more we will manifest the glory of God.

I hear someone say, “I don't see any halo on anyone's head, and I don't see any luminous glow on anyone's face.” That is right, and that is not the kind of glory that will be manifested. The kind of glory that will be manifested is the glory described in verse 18, which says we are transfigured into the same image–the image of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we are conformed to the image of Christ, we manifest Christ, and that is the glory we are able to see. You do not need to wear your clothes differently from everyone else to prove that you love the Lord, and you do not need to put a little halo around your head to let people know that you have been with God. All in the world you need to do is to yield yourself to the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, and He will change you from glory to glory into the image of the Lord.


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