Glory Veiled and Unveiled
Tension: What did Moses do when he realized that God’s glory was shining?
Resolution: he spoke to the people what God had commanded him, then he veiled it.
Exegetical Idea: When Moses realized that God’s glory was shining through him, he spoke God’s words to the people and then he veiled i.
Theological Idea: When God’s Word is revealed by his ministers, his glory shines through, but this can only happen if someone has turned to Christ and had the veil removed.
Homiletical Idea: When the minister of the New Covenant unveils the risen Christ, the glory comes through.
Big Idea: My job is to unveil the glory of Christ, yours is to look at it.
Intro: Have you ever come to a passage that you dno’t understand, tha tyou don’t really get? Maybe the pastor is preaching ons oemthing that is a little strange, and you find yourself drifting...
The tablets - Moses comes, carrying the two tablets as his evidence to the people. Remember, these two tablets are the code of the covenant.
The Shining Glory of God from Moses’ face - God showed his glory through the face of his coveannt minister, the man Moses. The only way that Israel could have seen the glory of God is through teh face of his minister, Moses.
Fear - Yet, the people, when they see it, what do they do? They are afraid. Why? Because they had sinnedj so much in the Golden Calf. They had broken the covenant immediatley after it had been made. All they could think about was their inability to perform the law.
Moses Speaks - Moses calls them back and repeats God’s law to them while they’re looking at God’s glory. Now, why would God speak this word that was frankly terrifying to them? Why does Moses want them to look at the terror of the law? Because unless they see the terror of the law, they will never seek the comfort and mercy and lovingkindness.
Moses veils himself - Then Moses veils himself. Why? So they will not constantly be looking at GOd’s glroy and feeling this condemnation. Moses does not want them to see this glory that is passing away.
Repetition of the Action - Now what is truly interesting is vs. 34-35 tell us that this action happened over and over again. Moses would hear from God and then relay that to the people, and then they would feel terror, and he would cover their face.
40 Days - The last thing I want to point out about this is that Moses is on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights. Now, if you will recall, last time Moses was on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights, Israel fell into a great evil. ANd they broke the Sabbath. Because the time was not yet full. They only had to wait one more day and I think God would have sent Moses down on the sabbath to signal the completion of the ceovenant. But this time it is God who jumps the gun. And I think the reason for that is that God is signalling that this situation of Israel seeing God’s glory when Moses speaks to them is not permanent, it is fading, it is just a jimmied, an inadequate fix.
Now, as interesting as this story is, I think if we leave it here, we’re not doing it justice. Because this story is important for a number of places in the New Testament, and I want to actually talk about those because I think they shed some important light on this.
Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-9)
Summarize the Transfiguration - Jesus brings James, John, and Peter with him up on the mountain. And Jesus is transfigured, suddenly he is glory and Moses and Elijah are here.
Moses in the glory of Jesus - Now, I think what is happening here is that Jesus is helping to connect the dots. I think the same glory that Moses was seeing was Jesus himself. The Transfiguration is looking back and God saying, remember that Old story? what, or who do you think MOses was seeing that was so glorious?
Resurrection - Now look in vs. 9. Jesus says, “Don’t tell anyone about this until the resurrection.” Why? why is that so important? Because the glory that Jesus hints at here, the same glory he is revealed to have, is the glory of the resurrection. What God gave to Moses was a glimpse of the resurrection glory. It is when Moses saw Jesus in all his resurrection glory that he himself became glorious.
New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:1-18)
So here we see many of the same features that we saw in Exodus 34. Except, because they are in the New Covenant. You see in vs. 11 and vs. 13, vs. 14,16, we see here that the Old Covenant is gone. That is not because there was something that was sinful about the Old Covenant. But rather, the Old Covenant, with all its laws and regulations, was totally, perfectly, completely fulfilled by Christ on teh cross.
The tablets (1-6) - Now in the New Covenant, there are tablets, but they’re not tablets that are written on stone. They are the tablets that are the written heart. How did God write these tablets? well look at vs. 6. See there where it says the Spirit gives life, that is the same word that Paul uses elsewhere, the word that means resurrection. So God has raised us up. The New Covenant code, the reason for the credibility of the Old Covenant is the resurrected heart, made new by the Holy Spirit.
The Shining Glory of God from Moses’ face (7-11) - Now, in the same way that God’s glory shone through Moses’ face, so God’s glory shines in the New Covenant. How? Through Pastors. Look at vs. 9. The ministry of Christ shines actually more glory. How? It is obviously not through my face. But rather, as I unveil him through his Words, he is actually shining all the more. As I faithfully unpack God’s Word, so you are seeing him with clarity and with a vision that the ancient Israelites could not have fathomed. Just as Moses spoke and God’s glory shown, so I speak and God’s glory is shining. If I could put it this way, my job is to point to the glory to Christ, and yours is to look at it.
Fear - Look in vs. 9, whereas the ministry of the Old Covenant was a ministry of fear and condemnation, the ministry of the New Covenant is a ministry of righteousness.
Moses veils himself - Now, remember how Moses used to repeatedly veil himself? Well we find here that the New Covenant is an unveiling. Why? Because the Old Covenant is passing away and the New is growing. But the New Covenatn is not a constant reveiling, but a constant unveiling. The mroe that we turn to Christ, the more the veil between us and Christ is taken away. (12-18)
Why are we transformed? We are transformed because the Spirit of the living God has united us to Christ and resurrected us.
Repetition of the Action - Now, here is the difference, the more and more that you stare at this glory, we begin to look like it. Now in teh Old Covenant, the more and more that we looked at it, the more and more we were condemend. But hte mroe and more that we look at God’s glroy the more and mroe we look like it. If I could just put it this way, my job as your pastor is to do everythign that I possibly can to unpack, unveil, clarify, expose, reveal, and point to the glory of Christ, teh glroy of teh cross, the glory of the resurrection, the glory of the gospel, that is my job. Put all that I am into showing you all that he is. And your job is to look at it. To see it as I preach, to listen, to hear, to understand, to enjoy, to delight. ANd the more that I expose and hte more that you look, the more and more you will look like him.
The pastor cannot do anything without God. Any hope that you have to feel relief and comfort, to be transformed comes from God and his Word.
Therefore, my job is to do everything I can to make God’s glory known. From Genesis to Revelation, in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, in Exodus, Habakkuk, Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews....
You cannot have any kind of change or transformation unless you are seeing and are reflecting God’s glory.
You can trust that the more that you look at Christ and behold him, the more you will be transformed. Why, because it does not depend on you!