The first time Moses came from the mountain with the law of God with him, his face did not shine. Now that is the case. When God reveals Himself in grace and love, it has a reflection on everyone who is in fellowship with Him (cf. Acts 4:13b13Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and [began] to recognize them as having been with Jesus.). Moses himself does not know that his face is shining. It’s not something you’re busy with yourself either. It is simply the result of fellowship with God. Those who live in fellowship with God do not think of themselves.
Instead of being attracted by the radiance of Moses, Aaron and the Israelites are afraid. Legal people are always frightened by grace. They are full of themselves and their own abilities or attempts to please God. Grace persuades them that they are nothing. That is a message they do not want to hear.
Moses puts a veil over his face, so that the Israelites no longer see the reflection of God’s glory (verses 33-3533When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.34But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take off the veil until he came out; and whenever he came out and spoke to the sons of Israel what he had been commanded,35the sons of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone. So Moses would replace the veil over his face until he went in to speak with Him.). The meaning of this is explained to us in 2 Corinthians 3 by Paul (2Cor 3:7-167But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, 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,8how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?9For if the ministry of condemnation has glory, much more does the ministry of righteousness abound in glory.10For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory because of the glory that surpasses [it].11For if that which fades away [was] with glory, much more that which remains [is] in glory.12Therefore having such a hope, we use great boldness in [our] speech,13and [are] not like Moses, [who] used to put a veil over his face so that the sons of Israel would not look intently at the end of what was fading away.14But 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.15But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;16but whenever a person turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.). There Paul applies the veil that Moses puts over his face to the blindness that exists among all those who wish to place themselves under the law.
The law has had a certain glory, but that glory has disappeared because of the glory of Christ. Anyone who still wants to place themselves under the law is blind to the glory of Christ. Such a man has a veil over his heart. If anyone gets an eye for the glory of Christ, that veil is taken away.
Whoever has accepted the Lord Jesus in faith no longer has a veil when he ‘reads Moses’. The phrase “when Moses is read” (2Cor 3:1515But to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their heart;) means “when the Old Testament books written by Moses are read”. For anyone who has come to know Christ, this veil has been destroyed. That also applies to the whole people of Israel in the future. When they return to the Lord, the veil is removed. Then they will discover in the Old Testament that everything is written with the Lord Jesus in mind. That is the “discovery” of the two going to Emmaus and disciples when the Lord Jesus opens their minds (Lk 24:26,44-4626Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?”44Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”45Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,46and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,).
Therefore the believer can now look at the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face (2Cor 3:17-1817Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, [there] is liberty.18But 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.). When the veil is gone, we are going to discover things in the Bible for which we have previously been blind. When our eyes have opened, we will enjoy the Old Testament because we read about the Lord Jesus in it. The Holy Spirit would like to tell us about Him on every page of the Bible. The Spirit Who has the Old Testament written down did so to introduce the Lord Jesus in it. The whole Old Testament breathes the Spirit of the Lord Jesus. That is the meaning of “the Lord now is the Spirit” (2Cor 3:1717Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, [there] is liberty.).
People have said after accepting the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord: “I have received another Bible.” Of course they read the same Bible, but they started to read differently. The Holy Spirit, from the moment they have received the assurance of the forgiveness of sins, has been given the freedom to show them the glory of the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament. The veil has disappeared.
It is now possible to admire with open eyes the glory of the Lord, without even for a moment being afraid. That is an unprecedented privilege. The more we are busy with the Lord Jesus as the One Who is now glorified in heaven, the more it will radiate from us as well. It changes us, so that both God and people will see more and more of the Lord Jesus in us.