“And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out” (Exo. 34:33-34).
Moses descended from Mount Sinai radiating the glory of God on his continence, only later to cover it with a veil. There is no indication how long the glory lasted on Moses’ face. But we do read that it was a regular practice where he would cover his face as he appeared to the people and take it off as He met with the Lord.
The veil is used throughout scripture to relay different messages. But there is one truth about the veil I want to point you to. We witness on two important occasions that the veil is mentioned in relation to a new dispensation that God is bringing forth. The first was when Moses put a veil on his face as the dispensation of the law was being given to the children of Israel. The second was when the veil was torn in two when our Lord Jesus died on the cross to usher in the age of grace (Luke 23:45).
The mention of the veil in association with a change in dispensation is also indicated in the layout of the tabernacle. Though we often talk of one veil, there were two veils in tabernacle (Heb. 9:3). The first divided the outer court from the holy place. The second divided the holy place from the most holy. Both veils hindered the people and priest from entering and looking into the subsequent part of the tabernacle. Thus the veil was an obstacle that prevented men from understanding and experiencing greater dispensations or spiritual realms that God had ordained.
Similarly, Paul uses the veil to represent the blindness in mind and heart: “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. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart” (2 Cor. 3:14-15). Among the Jews, the veil covered their mind and heart from gaining understanding of the essence of the Old Testament. Paul wrote these words inspired by the Holy Spirit at a crucial stage of transition in God’s dispensational plan of the ages. It was a period of change from the older order of the law to the new dispensation of grace. It was a transition from the ministration of condemnation to the ministration of the Spirit.
But as is the case in most new moves, the Jews found it difficult to leave behind the familiar teachings of the temple in order to partake of the new order the Lord was establishing which had been prophesied and indicated in various signs throughout the Old Testament. Thus Israel refused the Messiah and the way to salvation He had established. Paul stood at this significant junction of a changing order recognizing the impact of the veil whenever a new dispensation was being established by God. The deep truths of the gospel that God was ushering in were veiled in man. “But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing” (2 Cor. 4:3).
Like Paul, the same is true in our day. It would be no exaggeration to claim that even today in the reading of the New Testament a veil remains that blinds many from seeing the truth. We too now stand at a crucial junction of the spiritual transition from the in-part realm of Pentecost to fullness of Tabernacle. As Paul witnessed the blindness in mind and heart caused by the veil, we too see the blindness of many who abide in the church age. This veil blinds the saints from laying hold of the full gospel and the plan of God in this kingdom age.
In our current spiritual condition, I believe the veil has a two-fold application. First, it signifies a veil that blinds the people of God from reading the written word with spiritual eyes. Indeed the full gospel is veiled to many. The magnitude of the cross is veiled. The love of the Father is veiled. The progressive revelation of Christ is veiled. The identity of Adam is veiled. The reconciliation of all things is veiled. The salvation of all men is veiled. The mystery of manifest Sonship is veiled. The mystery of the Kingdom is veiled. The plan of God for creation is veiled. On and on we can go with the list of all that is veiled among the Lord’s people.
Is this not why many struggle to lay hold of the spiritual essence of the word of God, only fixing their eyes on the letter of the word? Despite this, contemporary Christianity repeatedly echoes a familiar message: “read your bible”. But if everyone with a bible understood the words they read, the spiritual condition of our day would not be what it is. Certainly a veil remains. For this book is a spiritual book that is not read by mere physical eyes, but by spiritual eyes that have been enlightened.
No doubt, we too were blinded by the veil. Only after encountering the Spirit of Christ within us in great power is the veil being removed from our eyes. Only by the Spirit of revelation do men begin to step out behind the veil that darkens their understanding. Perhaps now we look back in astonishment that we had read this book for decades, yes even memorized it, all the while divorced from the truth it carried. Praise God who has empowered us to experience that which is beyond the veil. But He is still continually removing the veil so we can press into the depth of all the unsearchable truth and reality of the Kingdom.
However, many of our fellow brothers and sisters remain in a state where their minds are blinded from perceiving and understanding these undisputable truths we now behold with open eyes. I am sure many have felt the urge in their spirit to share this glorious truth they have encountered with family and friends. Nevertheless, despite our continuous effort in sharing, we see no change in their countenance. At times it can be frustrating that the truths that are so indisputably evident in God’s word could be so disputable and so difficult to grasp. Paul assures us that only Christ can remove the veil; no effort of man or no toil of religion will bring illumination to the spiritually blind. Yet I believe as we completely step out from the veil of flesh and put on Christ in the fullness of His being, then will the ministry of removing veils from others, without fail, will be fully exercised by us. Like the pattern Son, this is a ministry where none of our words fall to the ground and none returns void.
This leads us to the second aspect of the veil which points to our current condition as those apprehended to sonship. As mentioned, many saints remain blind in the reading of the New Testament. But how do you understand the reading of the New Testament in this new day? Is it merely the reading and understanding of the words in those 27 books written with ink? Is the New Testament not more than that? Are we not the very epistles of Christ written in our hearts, known and read by all men, written by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of our heart (2 Cor. 3:2-3)?
Yet to what extent can men read this book in encountering us? Surely the full majesty of the life of Christ remains veiled today. Juts as Moses veiled his face in the presence of the people, this epistle of Christ remains dimmed so that others cannot clearly read (understand) it and know (assimilate) it. The veil hides, it masks, it covers and it dulls the impartation of the life of Christ in all its purity from being made visible and encountered by others. Though the light of the glory of Christ has come in our inner being in a most glorious way, the expression of its radiance is diminished as we struggle to express it in our limited words and to manifest it in our behavior and actions.
Their remains a veil of flesh that lessens the radiance of the glory of Christ in our going in and going out. Though we preach the great truths of perfection and reconciliation in the Kingdom, men still see our shortcomings and imperfections. Perhaps they observe more of us, as our sense of pride, self-importance, or self-defense sneaks to the surface preventing others from seeing Christ. Perhaps they fail to see the revelation of the truth we declare because it is overshadowed by carnality that promotes our own ego instead of lowering ourselves in servanthood. Was this not what Paul was concerned about when he states: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure” (2 Cor. 12:7).
Diverse are the effects of the veil that cover our countenance and which prevent men from receiving the full disclosure of all that Christ is. One such veil is the pride that comes with knowledge. Indeed “knowledge puffs up” (1 Cor. 8:1). Whenever the focus of our ministry shifts away from imparting the life of Christ to merely replacing one doctrine for another, we veil His life from being experienced tangibly by others. In line with this, I close with the following words by brother J. Preston Eby: “If your life is centered around a particular doctrine (even sonship, reconciliation, or kingdom), and all you can do is eat, drink, and sleep that doctrine, and especially argue about it, perhaps you are “worshipping” the doctrine rather than the God of the doctrine!” The ministry of sonship is a ministry of the impartation of life. And it is the manifestation of this life which the veil obstructs.
May the Lord quicken us to step completely beyond any veil that hinders the full radiance of His life from being exhibited in our countenance!
To be continued…