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30. A New Beginning (Exodus 34:10-35)


I have always disliked introductions. I do not mean introductions like the one I am now writing. I am referring to the kind of introductions that one person gives before other speaks. In effect, introductions are an effort to convince people that they should listen to what the speaker is going to say. My personal opinion is that no one will know whether or not the speaker is worth listening to until after he has spoken. Then everyone will know! I am saying that introductions are rather a waste of time because they focus on the speaker, rather than on the message. No matter how well known or how great any speaker is reported to be, the importance of listening carefully is only as great as the message he is about to give.

Introductions tend to focus on the messenger, rather than upon the message. To press the matter a little further, introductions focus upon the credentials of the speaker. We are thus told about the speaker’s education (especially emphasizing academic honors), about his accomplishments and human recognition. If we would believe what an introduction seeks to accomplish, the importance of the person determines the importance of the message.

Credentials do affect our attention and response to the words of another, but the kind of credentials which God gives are seldom of the same type that we would expect. When Moses was told by God to go to Pharaoh to demand that he let the Israelites go, Moses was very concerned with his credentials. He was concerned that he would be regarded as a nobody, and that no one would heed his message (Exod. 3:11). Even after God assured him that men would hear him, because “I Am” was with him and had sent him (Exod. 3:12-15), Moses still feared that he would not be taken seriously (Exod. 4:1). Therefore God gave Moses three very impressive “credentials.” The first was a staff that turned to a deadly, venomous serpent (4:2-5). The second was the ability to cause his hand to turn leprous, and then to restore it (4:6-7). The third was the ability to pour out water from the Nile, which turned to blood (4:8-9).

Moses, however, was not convinced that these credentials were enough. He feared that because he was not eloquent in speech he would not be taken seriously. God then gave Moses Aaron his brother as a spokesman, and also the plagues which would be poured out upon Egypt. These, my friends, were very impressive credentials, credentials which even Pharaoh reluctantly recognized, so that he finally released the Israelites.

While Moses was able to make the Egyptians listen, the Israelites, due to the stubbornness of their hearts, proved to be disinclined to heed the words of God through Moses. This is evident in Exodus chapter 32, where the people rejected the commandments of God by worshipping the golden calf, which they had persuaded Aaron to fashion for them. Now, after much mediation on the part of Moses, God is about to renew the covenant with Israel which they have just broken. Moses will play an even greater role in the leadership of the nation. I do not know whether or not Moses staff could still become a snake, but in any case God is about to give Moses an addition to his already impressive credentials, which will encourage the Israelites to heed his words.

Moses is going to return from the mountain with a radiantly beaming face, a reflection of the glory of God which he has seen. Every time he speaks to God face-to-face, the radiance will be renewed. Every time he speaks to Israel with his beaming face, the people will know that God is speaking to them through Moses, thus giving him credentials which the people dare not ignore.

Such credentials might seem very distant and unrelated to the New Testament saint, who lives at a different time, under a different covenant, and who has never experienced the “glow” which Moses was given by God. If it were not for the commentary of the New Testament, such a conclusion might be correct. The inspired writings of Matthew and Paul cause us to take this incident in Israel’s history much more seriously, however. Let us first look at the passage in Exodus, and then turn to its interpretation and application in the New.

The structure of our text is straightforward. The entire section describes the re-making of the Mosaic Covenant. Verses 10 and 11 introduce the covenant, while verses 27 and 28 serve as the conclusion. The code of the covenant or its conditions are contained in summary form in verses 12-26. Verses 12-17 are the negative prohibitions, while verses 18-26 are the positive practices which Israel is to faithfully pursue. The final section, verses 29-35, describes the radiance of the face of Moses as he returns from the presence of God. Thus, in outline form our passage is structured in this way:

    A. The stipulations of the covenant, vss. 10-28.

      1. The results of the covenant, v. 10.

      2. The requirements of the covenant, vss. 11-26.

        a. Negative, vss. 12-17.

        b. Positive, vss. 18-26.

      3. The recording of the covenant, vss. 27-28.

    B. The splendor of the covenant—the radiance of Moses’ face, vss. 29-35.

The Characteristics of the “New” Old Covenant

In verse 10 we read the words of God, spoken to Israel through Moses,

“Behold, I am going to make a covenant. Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth, nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you” (Exod. 34:10).

Verses 11-26 contain the stipulations or the “code of the covenant” which God is making here. They are considerably more abbreviated than the “code of the covenant give in chapters 20-23. This “new” old covenant will be best understood as we compare this covenant with that previously made and broken.

First, there is a “sameness,” a distinct similarity between this covenant and the first. The Ten Commandments, written on the two stone tablets are the same. Moses went to the top of the same mountain, and stayed there for the same time period—forty days and nights. The same standards are laid down in the second covenant as were contained in the first. Israel’s sin did not bring about a reduction in God’s standards for His people. The covenant which is made here is thus virtually a renewal of the former covenant. There are some differences however …

Second, there is a “newness” to the covenant which God made with Israel in our text. The term “renewal” or its equivalent is not found in our text, nor is there any reference to the former (first) covenant.110 The first covenant was based upon the “miracles”111 which God had done in delivering the Israelites from Egyptian bondage, while this covenant looks forward to the miracles which are instrumental in Israel’s possession of the land of Canaan (Exod. 34:10-11). (Ironically, the miracles which God formerly accomplished in Egypt resulted in the Egyptians driving the Israelites out of their land; now, the miracles which God is promising to accomplish will drive the Canaanites out of Israel’s land.)

There are a number of differences between the way this “new” covenant is given and the way in which the former was given, which tend to underscore the “newness” of it. Previously, Moses, along with 74 of Israel’s leaders went to the mountain, to ratify the covenant. Now, Moses alone goes to the mountain, apparently not even accompanied by Joshua.112 Formerly, the people repeatedly emphasized that they would obey all of God’s commandments, but no promises were made this (second) time. While the blessings of this covenant are still conditional, there are no “if’s” stated here, as there were at first (cf. Exod. 19:5).

Finally, the “code of the covenant” which is given in chapter 34 is significantly shorter than that found in chapters 20-23. The first code of the covenant placed a great deal of emphasis on social matters, such as the treatment of slaves and just compensation for losses caused by negligence or theft. In this abbreviated “code of the covenant” the emphasis falls on Israel’s walk with God, which had so quickly been interrupted by Israel’s idolatry and apostasy. The prohibitions of verses 12-17 forbid those contacts with the Canaanites which might lead Israel to turn from God. The way Israel is to deal with pagan idols is even more severe in the second statement of the “code of the covenant.”113 The practices referred to in verses 18-26 are those which would enhance Israel’s worship and walk with God. Thus, without referring to Israel’s fall, this abbreviated statement of the previously given “code of the covenant” focuses on those commands which will keep Israel from falling again, if they are obeyed.114

We have previously discussed the even greater role played by Moses in this covenant than in the former one. Moses alone went to the mountain and saw God, where previously it had been Moses with 74 other leaders of the nation. This time, we are told that Moses cut out these two stone tablets (34:1) and that he wrote on them (34:27-28). Moses becomes the central human figure in this covenant. This will become even more apparent in the final section of this chapter, where Moses’ face is said to become radiant when in the presence of God.115

The Splendor of the Covenant—The Transfiguration of Moses116

The Israelites were waiting once again, for another forty days and nights, until Moses returned with the tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments. The mood was very different this time from the last. The first time Moses came down from Mt. Sinai, Moses found the people worshipping a golden calf, which they had convinced Aaron to fashion for them. There was a heathen quality to this pseudo-worship and Moses was furious, just as God was. The stone tablets were smashed and pulverized by Moses, as was the golden calf. Three thousand were slain before the situation was back under control. There was much intercession before God finally promised Moses that He would forgive Israel and be present with them as they went on to possess the land of Canaan.

You can be sure that this time the people were most careful to wait patiently for Moses. After Israel’s apostasy, there may have been some doubt as to whether or not Moses would return with the stone tablets, and with the assurance that God had once again entered into a covenant with His people. If every Israelite stood at the doorway of his tent when Moses went out to the tent of meeting (33:8), you can be sure that every eye was fixed on Mt. Sinai, waiting for the first sign of Moses’ return. You can imagine the joy of the people when the first person shouted that Moses was spotted as he descended the mountain.

On that first descent, the people were unaware of Moses’ descent, but Moses and Joshua became increasingly aware of the revelry and apostasy of the people. Moses’ anger must have intensified with every downward step. Now the circumstances were different. Moses was unaware of the fact that his face was radiant,117 literally aglow with the glory of God. As Moses drew near, the people became increasingly aware of his radiant countenance, and in fear they withdrew from him. Moses must have been puzzled by what he saw. The people kept edging back away from him. A look of terror could be seen on the faces of those nearest to him. Little children may have cried and fled to their mothers.

At that point, perhaps, Moses may have turned to Joshua, or even have taken him aside, to ask what was wrong. In his amazement, Moses may have rushed into his tent and looked at himself in his wife’s mirror. What he saw must have amazed him as much as it did the Israelites. This was no mere redness of his cheeks, as though he were suddenly embarrassed; nor was his face a flushed white. It was the radiance of a powerful light.

In one sense, the story of Moses’ face does not seem unusual to me at all. It sounds rather like the promises of the cosmetic commercials which I can see almost every day. On the other hand, this is a very strange incident. Imagine, if you can, being the wife of Moses, and trying to get to sleep on a night after Moses has been in the presence of God, with a virtual spotlight blazing in the darkness. I can visualize her tossing and turning for hours, and finally saying to Moses, “Oh for goodness sake, Moses, turn out that light!,” and then, perhaps, throwing a blanket over his head.

Predictably, the people were at first frightened by the brightness of Moses’ countenance, but then eventually were able to draw near enough to hear Moses speak and to accept his words as from God Himself. Moses began to employ a veil. He would remove the veil when he went to speak with God and would leave it off until he had conveyed God’s words to the people. Then, the veil would be put on until the next time he spoke with God. The text seems to indicate that Moses did this on a number of occasions, with some degree of regularity. I believe that this occurred when Moses entered into the tent of meeting.118

The greater intimacy of Moses with God is apparent by the people’s actions here. In the past, the manifestations of the glory and majesty of God were more distant, so that the people wanted to keep their distance from God, and Moses to be their intermediary (cf. 20:18-20). Now that Moses’ face radiated with the glory of God, the people were reluctant to get too close to him (cf. 34:30).

What function did the “beaming,” radiant face of Moses play here? First, I believe that it further elevated Moses, showing him to be the one who God had chosen to be the mediator of His people.119 It also gave great force to the words which he spoke. When Moses came from the tent of meeting after having spoken with God everybody knew that what Moses was about to convey to them was a word directly from God. When Moses’ face was aglow, the words which Moses spoke were the very words of God. The radiant face of Moses gave testimony to the divinely inspired utterances which he spoke to the people.

The meaning of this periodic transfiguration of Moses is not pressed in our passage, other than to imply that Moses’ words, which were spoken with this shining face, would likely be taken very seriously by the Israelites. It is not until the New Testament that this unusual phenomenon is taken up more thoroughly.

The Transfiguration of Christ

Matthew’s account of the transfiguration of Christ is an especially significant commentary of the transfiguration of Moses in our text:

And six days later Jesus took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved son, with whom I am well-pleased; hear Him!” (Matt. 17:1-5).

This manifestation of the glory of our Lord, evidenced by His brilliant countenance and his glowing garments, is but a foretaste of His splendor, which will again be His when He is raised from the dead and ascends to the heavenly throne of God. John describes the radiance of the face of the glorified Christ in the first chapter of the Book of Revelation: “And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength” (Rev. 1:16). It is no wonder, then, that heaven will need no light other than that of His radiance: “And there shall no longer be any night; and they shall not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

The radiance of Moses’ face has great prophetic significance, for in the Book of Deuteronomy Moses spoke of the Messiah who would come, who would be a prophet like him: “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him” (Deut. 18:15).

The striking similarities between these accounts in Matthew’s gospel and in the Book of Revelation and that of our text in the Book of Exodus prove that the prophet of whom Moses spoke was none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Notice the similarities between Matthew’s account of the transfiguration of our Lord and Moses’ account of his own transfiguration:

  • There is the “high mountain” in both accounts.
  • There is the beaming face of both Moses and our Lord.
  • There is the fact that Moses appears in both passages.
  • The manifestation of glory is proof of God’s favor of the one who is thus transformed.
  • There is the emphasis on listening carefully to what the one with the gleaming face has to say.

Thus, the transfiguration of Moses was intended to serve as a prototype, a prophecy of the Messiah to come, who was in many regards, a prophet like Moses. Just as the radiance of Moses’ face was a part of his credentials, which caused the people to listen to him carefully, so the radiant splendor of Christ was one of His credentials, instructing us to listen carefully to Him:

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature …” (Heb. 1:1-3a).

For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will (Heb. 2:1-4).

When Moses radiated, it was with the glory of God, and thus men were induced to listen to his words. When our Lord was transfigured, it was with His own glory, as God, that He glowed. The writer to the Hebrews thus encourages each of us to take His words most seriously.

The Greater Glory of the New Covenant
(2 Corinthians 3 and 4)

This is not all, however, for the apostle Paul also refers to the transfiguration of Moses in Exodus 34:29-35 in the third and fourth chapters of his second epistle to the Corinthians. Paul uses the account of the transfiguration of Moses in Exodus 34 to teach us several important lessons:120

But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stone, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it. For if that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory. Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness in our speech, and are not as Moses, who used to put a veil over his face that the sons of Israel might not look intently at the end of what was fading away. But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ. But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart; But whenever a man turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulterating the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ (2 Cor. 3:7–4:6).

Paul’s argument in these verses is based upon a very important premise: THE GLORY OF THE NEW COVENANT SURPASSES THAT OF THE OLD, FOR THE NEW COVENANT IS SUPERIOR TO THE OLD COVENANT. The old covenant, Paul tells us, was one that was written in stone; the new is written on men’s hearts (3:3). The old covenant produced condemnation and death; the new produces righteousness and life (3:6, 9). The old covenant had a fading glory, the new an eternal glory (3:7, 11). The old covenant was reflected in the face of Moses; the new in the face of Christ (3:7, 18; 4:6).

On the basis of the greater glory of the new covenant, Paul draws his applications. The first is that the preaching of the new covenant can achieve that which the proclamation of the old could never accomplish. In Exodus chapter 34 Moses, not the people, wore the veil. In 2 Corinthians, Paul changes the imagery, saying that the real veil which obscured the glory of God from the Israelites was their own hardness of heart. “But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart” (2 Cor. 3:15). Added to the veil of the hardness of men’s hearts is the blinding of Satan: “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is in the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:3-4).

The veil of unbelief and hardness of heart, the veil of satanic blinding, which the old covenant could not remove, is only removed in Christ, through the proclamation of the new covenant: “But their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ” (2 Cor. 3:14). Thus, the preaching of the new covenant is more glorious, and its effect is greater than that of the old, for it can remove the veil of blindness, bringing men to faith in Christ, and thus transforming the hearts and lives of men.

This leads us to Paul’s second (and primary) application. From all that we can learn about Paul’s gifts and ministry, I think it is safe to say that Paul was not the most dynamic speaker of his day. From all appearances, Apollos was a more dynamic speaker. It would seem that Paul’s teaching and authority were under attack, partly due to his lack of charisma in speaking. Those false Corinthian teachers who were admired and followed by many in the church were seemingly men of great oratorical skill. Thus, they had these humanly appealing and impressive “credentials,” which caused many to listen to their teaching and follow after them.

What, then, were Paul’s credentials? What could he point to, to prove that his teaching should be adhered to, that his apostleship was from God? The answer which Paul gives is to be found in the greater glory of the new covenant, which surpasses that glory revealed in the face of Moses in Exodus chapter 34.

One evidence of the authority of Moses was the fact that he held in his hands the two tablets of stone, on which the commandments of God were written. Paul claimed to have gone one better. He did not possess tablets of stone, but he could point to hearts of stone which were turned into hearts of flesh, written upon by the Spirit of God, even as Jeremiah had prophesied (Jer. 31:31-34). He did not have a transformed face, but Paul could point to the transformed hearts and lives of those who had been changed by the gospel of the new covenant which he preached:

Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some, letters of commendation to you or from you? You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts. And such confidence we have through Christ toward God (2 Cor. 3:1-4).

Furthermore, Moses’ authority was evident in his radiant face, after he had been speaking with God. Paul did not have any such spectacular external manifestation, but he did have the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who dwells within every Christian, and who bears witness internally to those to whom the new covenant is proclaimed. This is what our Lord promised His disciples before He left the earth (John 16:8-16). Whenever we speak the word of God in truth, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit, bears testimony within the listener, validating the truth of what has been said.

What credentials did Paul claim? Those which were even greater than the credentials of Moses—the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, and transformed lives.

These credentials, my friend, were not only those which Paul could claim, but they belong to every believer in Christ, to every one who speaks for God in this age. It is not where we went to school that counts. It is not even whether we went to school at all that counts. Our credentials are the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the transformed lives which God brings to pass through the preaching of the gospel.

Do you not have a theological education? Have you never attended seminary? Are you unable to point men to the Hebrew and Greek words of the Bible? These are not essential credentials. The only credentials which you must have are those which Paul claimed. Are you not eloquent and forceful in delivery? Apparently Paul was not either, and Moses claimed not to be. Jonathan Edwards, as we have been told, read his sermons in a monotone voice. The important thing is not our delivery (though we need not try to make it poor), but the clarity and integrity of our message, driven home by the Spirit of God, resulting in transformed lives. Let us speak the truth in love, looking the Holy Spirit as our only needed credentials.

110 “There is nothing in the language which suggests a covenant renewal … The present account tells nothing of a ceremony in which the people accept the covenant and its terms, as one finds in 24:3-7. … The present account emphasizes the initiative of Yahweh in making the covenant on the basis of the words he speaks to Moses.” J. P. Hyatt, Exodus (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980), p. 323.

The reference to the former covenant in our chapter are very few and indirect. In verse 1 God told Moses to cut out stones tablets, “like the former ones.” In verse 4 we are told that Moses “cut out two stone tablets like the former ones.” My point here is that God does not keep bringing up the past, reminding Israel of her previous sin. Apart from reading the previous chapters, one would hardly know that a previous covenant had been made and broken. As a matter of fact, Hyatt points out that a number of (liberal) scholars feel our text contains the “original” covenant. Cf. Hyatt, p. 319.

111 “Marvels.” “The same Hebrew word has been used to describe the plagues sent upon Egypt (Ex. 3:20). Here, the sense is explained by saying that God will do a terrible thing (better ‘something of which men will stand in awe’).” R. Alan Cole, Exodus: An Introduction and Commentary (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1973), p. 229.

112 Not only is Joshua not mentioned, but the fact that Moses was unaware of his glowing face would indicate that Moses was alone as he descended the mountain.

113 “Earlier in the Book of Exodus (23:24) the command had been simply to ‘break down their images’ but after the Israelites had displayed an interest in idolatrous practices, they were now commanded to destroy the altars and the groves: in other words, all forms of idolatry were to be destroyed completely.” John J. Davis, Moses and the Gods of Egypt (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1971), p. 296.

114 “To recall the duties of the covenant once more to the minds of the people, the Lord repeats from among the rights of Israel, upon the basis of which the covenant had been established (chap. xxi.-xxiii.), two of the leading points which determined the attitude of the nation towards Him, and which constituted, as it were, the main pillars that were to support the covenant about to be renewed. These were, first, the warning against every kind of league with the Canaanites, who were to be driven out before the Israelites (vers. 11-16); and second, the instructions concerning the true worship of Jehovah (vers. 17-26). The warning against friendship with the idolatrous Canaanites (vers. 11-16) is more fully developed and more strongly enforced than in chap. xxiii. 23 sqq.” C. F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Biblical Commentary on The Old Testament, Vol. II, The Pentateuch, trans. by James Martin (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company [reprint], 1968), p. 242.

115 “This reflection of the splendour thrown back by the glory of God was henceforth to serve as the most striking proof of the confidential relation in which Moses stood to Jehovah, and to set forth the glory of the office which Moses filled. … The office could only confer such glory upon the possessor by virtue of the glory of the blessings which it contained, and conveyed to those for whom it was established. Consequently, the brilliant light on Moses’ face also set forth the glory of the old covenant, and was intended both for Moses and the people as a foresight and pledge of the glory to which Jehovah had called, and would eventually exalt, the people of His possession.” Ibid, p. 244.

116 I have borrowed this expression from Hyatt (p. 326) who calls this section “The Transfiguration of Moses.”

117 “This very old story contains two unusual linguistic usages, which guarantee its authenticity. The first is the verb translated shone here; ‘shot forth beams’ would be the better translation. Unfortunately, because the cognate noun also means ‘a horn,’ the Vulgate mistranslated the verb as ‘having horns,’ and so it is that Moses appears in mediaeval works of art as wearing a pair of horns.” Cole, p. 233.

118 “Most of the following verbs are imperfect, or perfect with ‘waw-consecutive,’ to indicate repeated, customary action. … This section must, therefore, describe some repeated action on the part of Moses, not the single action that took place when he descended from the mountain. If it has historical value, it could apply to his customary practice in going in and out of the tent of meeting, described in 33:7-11.” Hyatt, pp. 327-328.

119 This is further supported by the fact that God often used the singular “you,” referring to Moses, rather than the plural “you,” referring to the nation (e.g. 34:10, 27-28). This was to show that Israel’s destiny was intertwined with Moses.

120 “The Apostle Paul used the veil of Moses to teach three important truths. the first is that the veiling of Moses’ face typified the veiled glory of the old covenant in contrast of the unveiled and abiding glory of the new covenant. The full and majestic revelation of God’s glory was to be witnessed in the New Testament period (II Cor. 3:13). The veil, in the second place, represented the veil which was upon the heart of the Jews of his day. It was a way of symbolizing their spiritual blindness in not discerning the identity of Jesus the Messiah (II Cor. 3:14-16). The third reference to the veil is found in II Corinthians 3:18 and is a reference to the unveiled vision given to the believer by the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Every believer is in the process of being changed into the image of our Lord as a result of the new life which is within him. The culmination of this process will be when the Lord returns and we will behold Him face to face.” Davis, pp. 298-299.