We are going to finish off chapter 3 by looking at 2 Cor 3:12-18
v12: Therefore: Based upon what Paul has already taught in this chapter.
- Have: This word is written in the present tense. This means that it is a current reality for believers.
- Such hope: Paul is emphasizing the fact that we have a very unique, a particular, hope. Hope does not originate in our desires (what we want, what we hope for) but is always connected to the promises of G-d. Our expectations should always be founded upon what G-d has promised. Paul had this hope in the promises of G-d – that what G-d has said is going to be a reality.
- Boldness: Paul has confidence and absolute assurance – not just in his thoughts but also in the way that he spoke. Paul is saying that what he believes and knows he is going to be bold to speak out, to utilize it for the purpose of G-d.
v13: Moses: Biblically Moses was the mediator, the agent, between G-d and Israel. He mediated the law, the commandments, and there was a glory attached to this law – Moses’ face shone so he had to cover it with a veil. The law is not something we should condemn or look down on as bad, or think that it is past, abolished or that Messiah came to destroy it (Matt 5:17). He came to fulfil the law for us and in us. When speaking of the law Moses spoke of the fact that blessing and curse accompanied the law (Deut 30:15-20). On the cross Yeshua dealt with the ‘curse’ part of the law so that the ‘life’ and ‘blessings’ part of the law could become the reality in the lives of those who believed in Him.
The law was and is still glorious! Paul tells us in Romans 7:12 that the law is holy, and the commandments are just and good. Although it is still glorious it is fading and one day, but not yet, it will disappear altogether.
- Could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away: Moses put a veil on so the children of Israel would not gaze and see that the end would be fading away, that it was not permanent. Moses wanted them to focus on the message of the law. He did not want their focus to be on the fading glory that was attached to the law.
v14: Minds: Thoughts. This is a word for perspective. In this case it shows that they had a wrong perspective. They were infatuated with just looking at this glory that was fading away.
- Until this day: From Moses to Paul, and even until today, their minds are hardened when the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible, commonly referred to as the Old Testament) is read. Nothing has changed. They do not see things properly (ie with the proper understanding).
- Old Testament: Old covenant
- The veil is taken away in Messiah: The reason why the glory of the law dissipates is because there was something greater on the horizon that the letters pointed to – Messiah’s death for us. Moses did not want them to focus on this fading glory but on the word itself – what it said, G-d’s will and purposes that the law reveal. That same veil still remains, as the only way to have it removed is through Messiah. Messiah did not remove the law. He removed the veil so that we can rightly understand why the glory of the law is fading and why there was no longer a need for the veil.
v15: Moses: Referring to the law of Moses – the first 5 books of the Old Testament.
- A veil lies on their hearts: Something caused it to be there.
v16: When: In the exact moment that someone believes.
- Turns: This is a word for repentance.
- L-rd: Paul is referring to Yeshua. One of the hermeneutical devices that help us to interpret the Word of G-d is to always pay attention to how Messiah is being spoken of – whether it is by His name, a title, Saviour, teacher, L-rd. Paying attention to this can help us to better understand the text we are reading from. Paul is speaking here of people turning toward the L-rdship of Yeshua – recognising His authority and submitting to Him. When we submit to the L-rdship of Yeshua, through faith, then this veil is removed.
v17: The L-rd is the Spirit: Being in Messiah, having that new covenant relationship with Him and submitting to His L-rdship, manifests itself through the Holy Spirit entering into us to change and transform us – bring Kingdom order into our lives. The Spirit of Yeshua and the Holy Spirit are one and the same.
- Liberty: Freedom. The Spirit gives us liberty and freedom. This does not mean liberty and freedom to do whatever we want to do. It does not mean liberty or freedom to sin. What it does mean is that we now have freedom and liberty to serve G-d. That is why Yeshua is called ‘L-rd’ in this verse. We become servants of G-d through Messiah.
v18: Note: This verse summarizes the whole purpose of this third chapter.
- But: A word that shows a contrast. We are not like those with veiled faces. We have a different reality.
- All: Referring to all believers – none excluded. This is a transformation that we all have in common – we have the ability to see and understand things properly.
- Unveiled face: When we accept Yeshua that veil is removed.
- (Reflection): Some Bibles translate this word as ‘mirror’. When that veil has been removed, we see things clearly and therefore can properly reflect the glory of G-d. That is what a disciple, a follower, an imitator does – reflects the glory of G-d. We are not divine so we do not emit light like G-d does (Luke 9:29 Revelation 21:23), but we have a calling to reflect that same glory – not the glory of the law that fades, but the glory of the Spirit of G-d.
- Image: Related to the word ‘icon’. An exact replica of the original.
Note: Although we are reflecting G-d’s glory we are not concealed or covered up like Moses was. The glory that Moses demonstrated (the glory of the law) was a glory that was becoming less, that was fading away. Our glory is of the Spirit, the very Spirit of Messiah.
- Being transformed: Undergone metamorphosis. The Spirit changes us from glory to glory. We are not saved by our deeds. However, having been saved, our deeds are called to reflect the glory of G-d, through His Spirit which is given to us when we recognize and submit to His L-rdship.