Sermon #110 Exodus Series
Title: The Veil on Moses’ Face
Text: Exodus 34:29-35
Subject: The Law and the Gospel
Date: Tuesday Evening — October 13, 2009
Tape: Exodus #110
Readings: David Burge and Allen Kibby
Turn with me to Exodus 34. The title of my message tonight is — The Veil on Moses’ Face Removed. — Our text is Exodus 34:28-35.
Here the Spirit of God records for our learning and consolation the shining and veiling of Moses’ face. The things we read here are recorded in the Book of God “for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Let’s begin at Exodus 34:29.
(Exodus 34:29) “And 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.” — The tables of the law that Moses carried in his hands were written by the finger of God upon tables of stone. These tables of the law, the Ten Commandments, were laid up in the ark of the covenant under the mercy-seat. The picture before us is highly symbolical.
Š These tables of stone, upon which the Lord God wrote out the law a second time, represented the fact that the law man had broken only God himself could repair.
Š The law would be fulfilled by one who is God himself.
Š The law would be fulfilled when Christ our Passover died for our sins and, with his own blood, entered into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
Š As God wrote the law upon these tables of stone, so the Spirit of the living God alone can and does write his law upon the fleshy tables of our hearts in the new birth (2 Corinthians 3:3).
But what is the meaning of the shining of Moses’ face? It has been suggested by some that shined brilliantly because he had been in intimate communion with the triune God. Others have thought that Moses’ shining face was prophetic of his appearance with the Lord Jesus upon the Mount of Transfiguration and prophetic of the glory of God’s saints in the resurrection. While those things may be so, I am certain that there is more to the picture before us.
Š The shining of Moses’ face is directly connected with the revelation God gave him in the mount of his glory in the accomplishment of salvation by Christ, in whose face the glory of God shines forth (2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
Š The shining of Moses’ face indicated the enlightenment of his own heart, the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ shining in his heart.
(Exodus 34:30) “And 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.” — Enlightened souls always frighten those who are yet in darkness.
(Exodus 34:31) “And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.” — Having veiled his face because of their fear, he spoke to Aaron and the children of Israel about the things the Lord showed him in Mount Sinai, the things typified and foreshadowed by the law, the tabernacle, the sacrifices, the holy days and the priesthood: — Jesus Christ and him crucified!
(Exodus 34:32-35) “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 veil on his face. (34) But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. (35) And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.”
Without question the veiling of Moses’ face is very highly significant and instructive. Anything under a veil is hard to see. It indicated the obscurity of the law.
Š The law reveals the righteousness and holiness of God, but gives no hint of how it can be obtained, except by the pictures, types and ceremonies of it.
Š The law speaks of judgment and death; but gives no hint of mercy and life.
Š The law exposes sin, but allows no forgives.
Š The law demands obedience, but gives no ability.
The law demands a weighty debt,
And not a cent will it forget;
The gospel points to Jesus’ blood,
And says He made the payment good.
The law provokes men oft to ill,
And hardened hearts makes harder still
The gospel acts a kinder part,
And melts the rebel’s stony heart.
‘Run, Don, run, work,’ the law demands;
Yet gives me neither feet nor hands;
But sweeter news the gospel brings;
It bids me fly, and gives me wings.
With these, by grace, my soul may fly,
And soar aloft, and reach the sky;
Nor faint nor falter in the race,
But look to Christ, and sing of grace!
Š The law terrifies, but cannot comfort.
Š The law threatens death to anyone who puts his hand to it.
Still, the shining of Moses’ face and the veil upon his shining face are even more significant. Many believe that Moses’ face continued to shine as long as he lived upon the earth. Whether that was the case or not, I cannot say; but I see no reason to doubt it. But I know this: — Once the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ begins to shine in your heart, it never ceases, but only shines more brightly.
The Veil Removed
Look at verse 34 again. — “When Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out.” When Moses went in before the Lord he took the veil off his face. Why? I would think that he would wear the veil before the Lord, if he wore it anywhere. Why, then, are we told that — “When Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out”? You will find the answer in 2nd Corinthians 3. The best commentary on Exodus 34 is the commentary given by God the Holy Spirit in 2nd Corinthians 3. When Moses went in before the Lord, he took the veil off his face because he was then standing before him by whom alone all the law must and would be fulfilled.
(2 Corinthians 3:2-17) “Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: (3) Forasmuch 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 fleshly tables of the heart. (4) And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: (5) Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (6) Who 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. (7) But 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: (8) How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? (9) For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. (10) For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. (11) For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. (12) Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: (13) And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: (14) 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. (15) But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. (16) Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away. (17) Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Here the Spirit of God draws a comparison between the two covenants — the one from Mount Sinai, the law, the covenant of works, the other from Mount Zion, the gospel, the covenant of grace.
Š The law he calls the “ministration of death,” and of “condemnation.” — The gospel is called “the ministration of life.”
Š The law is fleshy and carnal. — The gospel is spirit and righteousness.
Š The law brings bondage. — The gospel brings liberty.
Š The law was glorious in the ministration of death and condemnation. — The ministration of the gospel is glorious in the gift of life!
Š The glory of the law was transient. — The glory of the gospel is permanent.
Š “Much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory” (v. 9).
Š In fact, by comparison, when compared to the gospel, the law has no glory at all, “by reason of the glory that excelleth” (v. 10).
(2 Corinthians 3:7-11) “But 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: (8) How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? (9) For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. (10) For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. (11) For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.”
Now, watch this: — Three times the Spirit of God tells us, in this 3rd chapter of 2nd Corinthians alone, that the glory of the law (I take that to mean the law itself.) was “done away” (vv. 7, 11, 14) by the coming, the accomplishments and the revelation of Christ. In verse 13, the very same word translated “done away” in verses 7, 11 and 14, is translated “abolished.”
That’s pretty strong language. Don’t you think? I take it to mean that the age, and dispensation, and economy of the law is over! The law was our schoolmaster unto Christ. But since Christ has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
Š We are not ruled by the law, but by grace.
Š We are not motivated by the law, but “the love of Christ constraineth us!”
Š We fear no condemnation by the law.
Š We have no covenant with the law.
Š We keep no ceremonies of the law.
Š We have no curse from the law.
Š We owe no debt to the law.
(Romans 8:33-34) “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. (34) Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”
(Jude 1:9) “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.”
(Zechariah 3:1-5) “And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. (2) And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan; even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? (3) Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. (4) And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (5) And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by.”
Compassed with trouble, in distress,
What fears possess my mind!
Savior, I long to see Your face,
For grace and peace divine!
With broken heart, and waiting long,
Beneath this crushing load,
I own my sin, confess my wrong,
And stretch my hands to God.
My wretched heart, my God, I mourn;
And for my sin I weep!
With every lust obscene I burn,
And sink into the deep!
As Satan raises Moses up
And roars against my soul,
Lord Jesus, my poor cause take up
And make Your servant whole!
Arise, O Lord! Shine forth in grace!
Your precious blood apply!
Embrace my soul, dear Prince of Peace,
Blest Rock higher than I!
Speak, Savior, let me hear Your voice,
Show me, again, Your face!
Oh! Hear my inmost groans and cries. —
Revive my soul with grace!
We are not under the law, but under grace! — “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty” (v. 17).
(Romans 6:14-15) “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. (15) What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”
(Romans 7:4) “Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
(Romans 8:1-4) “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (2) For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (3) For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (4) That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
(Romans 10:4) “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
Robert Hawker wrote, “It is very blessed to read Moses in Christ; and to see that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
The veil that is spread upon God’s Israel, the veil that is spread over God’s elect scattered among all nations, is taken away when Christ is revealed in the hearts of chosen sinners by the mighty, saving operations of God the Holy Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:15-16) “But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart.”
(16) “Nevertheless when it (THE HEART) shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.”
(2 Corinthians 4:1-7) “Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; (2) But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. (3) But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: (4) In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (5) For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. (6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”
(2 Timothy 1:9-10) “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”
(Isaiah 25:9) “And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
(Isaiah 12) “And in that day thou shalt say, O LORD, I will praise thee: though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortedst me. (2) Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (3) Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (4) And in that day shall ye say, Praise the LORD, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. (5) Sing unto the LORD; for he hath done excellent things: this is known in all the earth. (6) Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”
Yes, there is a veil upon the hearts of all by nature, a veil that only God the Holy Spirit can take away. But, if you will look at 2nd Corinthians 3:18, you will see and be reminded of the fact that as long as we are in this body of flesh, you and I can see but little of the glory of our dear God and Savior the Lord Jesus. But, blessed be his name forever, when we drop this veil of flesh, we shall see all things clearly!
(2 Corinthians 3:18) “But we all, 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.”
(Psalms 17:15) “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
(1 John 3:1-2) “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”
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