2 Corinthians 3:18


Monday, 13 July 2015

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 by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Corinthians 3:18

In verse 16, Paul said that “…when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.” As a word to those who are in Christ, he shows that this is already true. For us there is no veil – “But we all, with unveiled face…” Instead of a veil, we are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” It seems rather difficult to scholars exactly how to translate this. Some say “contemplate the Lord’s glory,” “can see and reflect the glory,” “beholding as in a glass the glory,” “reflecting like bright mirrors the glory,” and so on.

However, the Bible should always be interpreted with the Bible. In doing so, the difficulty will clear up. The word for “beholding” here is katoptrizó. It means “beholding as in a mirror.” It is used only this once in the New Testament and therefore Paul has specific intent on choosing this word instead of a word comparable to, say, 1 Corinthians 13:12. By going back to the account of Moses, we can determine what the intent is. In Exodus 33, we read this exchange between Moses and the Lord –

“And he said, ‘Please, show me Your glory.’
19 Then He said, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’ 20 But He said, ‘You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.'” Exodus 33:18-20

In this, we are told that man “cannot see” the face of the Lord and live. However, in Jesus we are told that He is “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person” (Hebrews 1:3). Putting the thoughts together then, Paul has been contrasting the Law of Moses with the new covenant. Therefore, he is saying that when we see the gospel message, we are as if “looking into a mirror” which reflects the glory of God. In Christ we behold His glory. We cannot say we are looking directly at the Lord because He is not present with us at this time. Therefore, it is the truth of Christ that we are beholding in the message of Christ.

Therefore, the translation of the NKJV is correct. At this time, we are “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord” each time we contemplate the gospel or (now because it is written) search out the New Testament Scriptures. And, in the searching out of Christ in this way, Paul says that we “are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory.”

Just as Moses’ face reflected the glory of God when he came before the Israelites, so we are being transformed. It is not a physical transformation, but a spiritual one. As we conform to the prescriptions of the New Testament, and as we follow as disciples of Christ, we are being spiritually transformed into that same image; the image of Christ, thus, “from glory to glory.” We behold the glory and it transforms us to that glory.

Paul finishes this thought and the chapter with the words, “just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is the Spirit who calls, it is the Spirit who seals, and it is the Spirit who sanctifies. As we pursue Christ from glory to glory, the Spirit is accomplishing His role in the process to conform us to the image of God in Christ.

Life application: To know God, you must know Jesus Christ. To know Jesus Christ, you must know your Bible. If you claim Jesus while circumventing the Bible, then how do you know you’re not following a false Christ? Read your Bible.

Heavenly Father, how often I see people claim Jesus as “Savior” and yet they don’t acknowledge what they are being “saved” from. Being saved implies having been in peril. Your wrath is as evident in the pages of the Bible as is Your love. But the world wants to circumvent the wrath and focus only on the love. They have made a god in the image they want and have not called out to You in true hope of being saved from the wrath You feel at our sin. Help eyes to be opened to the truth of who You are. Amen.



2 Corinthians 3:17


Sunday, 12 July 2015

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17

This phase seems perplexing, but it is only perplexing if we fail to look for the context of Paul’s thoughts. In verse 3:6, he said, “…who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” He is now returning to that thought, as if the intervening verses were parenthetical.

He has been contrasting the supremacy of the new covenant over the old. In doing so, he gave the example of Moses’ veil as a picture of how the truth of Christ is veiled to those who read the law without the connection of who Jesus is in relation to the words it contains. Once a person (specifically a Jew, and more specifically the nation of Israel collectively) turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.

In this is found the answer to what Paul is saying. The Lord is the Spirit of biblical interpretation. This is not speaking then of the Holy Spirit but the knowledgeable relationship between what is written in the law and what it is pointing out, which is Christ Jesus. As He said Himself in John 5 –

“You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” John 5:39

The sentiment that Paul is giving here is very similar to the words of the angel who spoke to John in Revelation 19 –

“Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Revelation 19:10

Albert Barnes explains the intent of this verse quite well –

“The sense is, that Christ was the Spirit; that is, the sum, the substance of the Old Testament. The figures, types, prophecies, etc. all centered in him, and he was the end of all those institutions. If contemplated as having reference to him, it was easy to understand them.”

Understanding who Jesus is, and understanding what Scripture is saying about Him, leads to the liberty that Paul addresses. The Jews only find true liberty from the veil which covers their eyes when they turn to the Lord.

Life application: One can read Scripture all day long and not properly understand it unless they recognize that it is revealing Jesus. Therefore, arguing Scripture with those who do not accept who He is makes no sense. They must first be correctly trained in the Subject of Scripture before they can understand the meaning behind the words.

Heavenly Father, You have given us Scripture to reveal Jesus to us. And so it is obvious why so many people misuse Your word. They create a Jesus in their own image rather than receiving Him as He is portrayed. This leads to a false gospel and a sad future which lies ahead for them. I pray that people will determine to look for the truth in Your word and stop believing the false presentations of Jesus which have become so commonplace in the modern church. Open eyes Lord! Amen.


2 Corinthians 3:16


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 2 Corinthians 3:16

Different translators look at what is being said here in a couple of ways. In the NKJV, it says “when one turns to the Lord.” It implies that each time a Jew turns to Jesus, the veil is taken away. However, other translations say, “…when it shall turn to the Lord.” This then would be speaking of the heart of Israel collectively. The Weymouth version says this more specifically with the words, “But whenever the heart of the nation shall have returned to the Lord, the veil will be withdrawn.”

It is true that individually as Jews come to the Lord the veil is taken away. However, the context of the passage is implying the nation as a whole. This was actually pictured in Exodus 34. In verse 31 it says –

“Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.” Exodus 34:31

The prophetic picture of that passage is that the rulers (who represent the nation) “returned” to Moses. The word drives the analogy which Paul clearly saw and is using for us to see. This is also pictured in the story of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38 and of Joseph revealing himself to his brothers in Genesis 41. Further, it is explicitly stated by Jesus in Matthew 23 –

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ” Matthew 23:37-39

Jesus, speaking to Jerusalem which is the seat of power in Israel, said that when they call on Him, He will come to them. This implies that the veil has been taken away. Zechariah speaks of the effect of this moment on the people –

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn.” Zechariah 12:10

Life application: It should be as apparent at the nose on one’s face that Jesus is not through with the nation of Israel. If you are a “replacement theologian” you may be missing your nose.

Heavenly Father, I thank You that I have been granted the blessing of living at a time when Israel has been restored to her homeland. Your word promises that she will never be uprooted again. It also promises that they will realize the truth of who their Messiah is in due time. I pray for that wonderful day when the veil is lifted and they see Him in all His splendor! Amen.


2 Corinthians 3:15


Friday, 10 July 2015

But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 2 Corinthians 3:15

In the previous verse, Paul notes this concerning the Jews – “But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the “veil” is taken away in Christ.” As explained in that verse evaluation, the “veil” should be rendered “the old covenant.” In support of that, Paul continues with, “But even to this day…”

It has to be remembered that Paul wrote this epistle about 30 years after the time of Christ. The temple was still standing, the Jews attended their synagogues and read weekly from the Torah, and the veil remained over their hearts concerning the work of the Lord. He was just as hidden to them then as He was before He came. Now, it is about 2000 years later and the same truth applies. When Jews meet to discuss the Torah, the details of Christ are hidden from them.

The time for this is ending though. Jews are converting to Christ at an ever-increasing rate. Israel has been returned to the land of Israel as prophesied. The nations of the world are coming against them just as the Bible showed would happen. All of this is preparing them for one final seven-year period where a temple will stand and they will finally understand what Daniel was talking about in verses 9:24-27 of his book.

In the end, the Jewish nation will finally call out to Jesus and He will return to rescue them. But until that happens, the veil lies on their heart. We are witnessing the coming end of the church age, and the time of Daniel’s 70th week which will end with the veil finally being removed.

Life application: It is a messy world and it is getting messier, but God has a plan which He is working on through it all. Stand back and watch the Lord work! Israel is being prepared for a meeting with their true Messiah.

Heavenly Father, Your word said that Israel would be returned again to occupy the land of Israel. It also says that this group of people is being prepared for a meeting with their Messiah. They will call and He will answer; the veil will be lifted and the glory of Jesus will finally be realized. Both testaments show this as clearly as could be… may it be soon. Even so – come Lord Jesus. Amen.




2 Corinthians 3:14


Thursday, 9 July 2015

But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:14

Referring to the Jews, and any others who would follow in the misguided notion about the purpose and continuance of the Old Testament, Paul states that “their minds were blinded.” The word for “blinded” is poroo. It properly means, “made of stone; (figuratively) insensible; dull, unperceptive as a rock; calloused (hardened); i.e. unresponsive (dense), completely lacking sensitivity or spiritual perception.” For this reason, many translations prefer the word “hardened” instead of “blinded.”

The hardening of one’s eyes indicates a spiritual blindness, so the same concept is understood. However, this action is often as much self-willed and purposeful in some as it is lacking in others. In other words, there are those who have been told that Jesus permeates the Old Testament and is revealed in the New, but they willingly harden their minds to this fact.

The New Testament on numerous occasions shows that the law is fulfilled in Christ and thus it is nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14); annulled (Hebrews 7:18); obsolete (Hebrews 8:13); and taken away (Hebrews 10:9). These and multiple other references show that those who cling to the Old Testament for the application of their spiritual doctrine have “until this day the same veil” covering their spiritual senses that kept them from seeing Christ (or the fullness of His work) in the very law which is now abolished.

Paul couldn’t be clearer on this, and yet it is not only the Jewish people, but countless heretical sects which reintroduce the law and thus bring condemnation on themselves. In Christ is found the embodiment of the law. Therefore, in Christ is where we are to place our hopes. This veil which remains in place is “unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament.” Anytime the law is read to a person who is trying to be justified by the law, the veil remains. They have missed Christ and are attempting to seek a right-standing before God based on personal merit. It is a self-condemning act.

Finally, the NKJV ends this verse with, “because the veil is taken away in Christ.” This is a possible translation, but it is not the intent of Paul’s words. Notice that the word “veil” is inserted (italicized words are inserted); it is not in the Greek. In their translation they have incorrectly assumed that it is the veil which is taken away in Christ. But this is properly explained in verse 16. Rather, Paul’s words here are speaking of the law itself. In Christ, the law is taken away. Only when one realizes this is the veil then removed. Here is John Darby’s translation of this verse, rightly showing Paul’s intent –

“But their thoughts have been darkened, for unto this day the same veil remains in reading the old covenant, unremoved, which in Christ is annulled.” Darby

Once it is understood that the old covenant is annulled and a turning to the Lord has taken place, then verse 16 can occur – “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.”

Life application: If you are in a church which mandates precepts from the Old Testament – circumcision, Sabbath worship (meaning Saturday), tithing, etc. then get out of there. We do not reinsert into the New what has been annulled in the Old!

Lord God, would I sing songs about the work of Christ for me and then reinsert a law which is fulfilled in Him? Will I pick and choose certain precepts from the Old Covenant which is annulled in Him and decide that they need to be adhered to? Will I mandate Sabbath-day worship when He is my rest? Will I tell people that they need to tithe in order to be pleasing to You? No way! Jesus fulfilled the law and the law is obsolete. I stand on the work of Christ and my doctrine comes from the New Testament epistles. Thank You for Jesus who did the hard work for me so that I can rest in Him and follow in obedience to the New Covenant in His blood! Hooray for Jesus! Amen.