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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder


2 Corinthians 3:12-14 Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: but their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ.

In the preceding chapter, Paul had written about his preaching as being a triumph in Christ. Lest his readers, whether faithful or erring, think he was boasting in this portion of his letter, Paul now corrects any misconception in the first few verses of this chapter, by saying that any commendation, by himself, or by others was not solicited, nor was it necessary to the success of his preaching. The best commentary he could have was the examples of the godly conduct within the lives of faithful Christians that his inspired messages produced. Paul did not seek self-glory in his ministry, by preaching the gospel of Christ to sinners. He, and all other faithful teachers of God's truths, are insufficient in accomplishing this mission. However, through Jesus Christ, all sufficiency is of God; who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament (Vss. 5-6). In verses 7 through 11, Paul makes a comparison between the Old and the New Testaments. The Old Covenant, including the "Ten Commandments" that was written and engraved in stones, was glorious; so glorious that the face of Moses shown brightly as he carried God's law down from Mount Sinai to the Israelites (See Ex. 34:29-30).

Although the Old Testament was glorious, its purpose was never intended to be permanent. It was merely a temporary plan of God that was fulfilled in His Son, Jesus, and its glory gave way to a more glorious covenant, the New Testament, which was ushered in by the establishment of His kingdom - the church of Christ. The writer of the Hebrew letter confirms this by saying that the law of Moses was only a shadow of good things to come. It is referred to as the first (law) that was taken away in order that He may establish the second (law), (See Heb. 10:1, 9).

In his letter to the church at Colosse, Paul also referred to the Old Testament as a shadow of things to come (Col. 2:17), that was fulfilled by Jesus, and, through His death, was taken out of the way, nailing it to His cross (Col. 2:14). The New Testament of God is, indeed, more glorious. Why? Because in it is revealed the hope of eternal salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed as a sacrificial offering to, once and for all, reconcile sinful men and women of the world to their righteous Heavenly Father. This is plainly explained by Paul to the Christians at Ephesus. He wrote to them, But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ ...who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us (Jews and Gentiles) (Eph. 2:13-14).

The phrase contained in the lesson text, which reads, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished, has, within it, a very interesting lesson for all Christians today. The children of Israel could not see beyond the Old Testament law. Here are two good comparisons that help explain this truth. First, the water's surface cannot be seen from a submerged submarine. However, with the use of a periscope, it can be viewed in all directions. Also, within the past 70 years, innovations in satellite and radar technology allows us to view weather patterns throughout the world, when previous to that we could observe weather only to the horizon of our physical eyesight. In other words, today we are able to see what previously went unseen. Such was the case with the children of Israel. They could not look beyond the Old Testament - they could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished, which was the Old Covenant God had made with them.

Notice how plainly Paul explains this in his letter to the churches of Galatia. He wrote, But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith, which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith (Gal. 3:23-24). The veil that covered the radiance of Moses, as he descended Mount Sinai with God's law for the nation of Israel, was a symbol of the limited understanding of God's plan of eternal salvation - it was incomplete. The Old Testament veiled God's will for mankind, which veil is done away in Christ.

What a privilege it is to be a Christian today; to be able to see clearly what lies beyond this life on earth; to know that, within the body of Jesus, faithful children of God will be able to enjoy the hope of eternal salvation; to be able to see that which could not be seen before the coming of our Lord, and the establishment of His kingdom in heaven and on earth. Thank you God for that which we can now clearly see!