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The Transfiguring Spirit

The Transfiguring Spirit

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



" Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,
and are not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, that the children
of Israel should not look stedfastly on the end of that which was
passing away: but their minds were hardened: for until this very
day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth un-
lifted; which veil is done away in Christ. But unto this day, when-
soever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart. But whensoever
it shall turn 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 reflecting as a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even
as from the Lord the Spirit."— 2 Cor. iii. 12 18 (R.V.).
BY JAMES DENNEY, B.D.



" Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,
and are not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, that the children
of Israel should not look stedfastly on the end of that which was
passing away: but their minds were hardened: for until this very
day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth un-
lifted; which veil is done away in Christ. But unto this day, when-
soever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart. But whensoever
it shall turn 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 reflecting as a mirror the glory of the
Lord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even
as from the Lord the Spirit."— 2 Cor. iii. 12 18 (R.V.).

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 06, 2013
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THE TRASFIGURIG SPIRITBY JAMES DEEY, B.D." Having therefore such a hope, we use great boldness of speech,and are not as Moses, who put a veil upon his face, that the childrenof Israel should not look stedfastly on the end of that which waspassing away: but their minds were hardened: for until this veryday at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth un-lifted; which veil is done away in Christ. But unto this day, when-soever Moses is read, a veil lieth upon their heart. But whensoeverit shall turn to the Lord, the veil is taken away. ow the Lord isthe Spirit : and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. Butwe all, with unveiled face reflecting as a mirror the glory of theLord, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, evenas from the Lord the Spirit."— 2 Cor. iii. 12 18 (R.V.).THE "hope" which here explains the Apostle'sfreedom of speech is to all intents and purposesthe same as the " confidence " in ver. 4. 1 It is mucheasier to suppose that the word is thus used with acertain latitude, as it might be in English, than to forceupon it a reference to the glory to be revealed whenChrist comes again, and to give the same future re-ference to "glory" all through this passage. Thenew covenant is present, and present in its glory ; andthough it has a future, with which the Apostle's hopeis bound up, it is not in view of its future only, it is1 In the LXX. i\irtfa is often used as the rendering of H^3 eon-fidtrt.127138 THE SECOD EPISTLE TO THE CORITHIAS
 
because of what it is even now, that he is so grandlyconfident, and uses such boldness of speech. It isquite fair to infer from chap. iv. 3 — "if our Gospel isveiled, it is veiled in those that are perishing " — thatPaul's opponents at Corinth had charged him withbehaviour of another kind. They had accused himof making a mystery of his Gospel — preaching it insuch a fashion that no one could really see it, orunderstand what he meant. If there is any chargewhich the true preacher will feel keenly, and resentvehemently, it is this. It is his first duty to deliverhis message with a plainness that defies misunder-standing. He is sent to all men on an errand of lifeor death ; and to leave any man wondering, after themessage has been delivered, what it is about, is theworst sort of treachery. It belies the Gospel, andGod who is its author. It may be due to pride, orto a misguided intention to commend the Gospel tothe wisdom or the prejudices of men ; but it is neveranything else than a fatal mistake.Paul not only resents the charge ; he feels it soacutely that he finds an ingenious way of retorting it"We," he says, " the ministers of the new covenant, wewho preach life, righteousness, and everlasting glory,have nothing to hide ; we wish every one to knoweverything about the dispensation which we serve. Itis the representatives of the old who are really opento the charge of using concealment ; the first and thegreatest of them all, Moses himself, put a veil on hisface, that * the children of Israel should not look sted-1 Attempts have been made to render irpbs rb (if) dreWcrai other-wise: t.g., rpit has been taken as in Mat. xix. 8, which wouldgive the meaning, "considering that the children of Israel did not
 
iii.i2-i8.] THE TRASFIGURIG SPIRIT ia$fastly on the end of that which was passing away.The glory on his face was a fading glory, because itwas the glory of a temporary dispensation ; but hedid not wish the Israelites to see clearly that it wasdestined to disappear; so he veiled his face, and leftthem to think the law a permanent divine institution."Perhaps the best thing to do with this singularinterpretation is not to take it too seriously. Evensober expositors like Chrysostom and Calvin havethought it necessary to argue gravely that the Apostleis not accusing the law, or saying anything insulting of Moses ; while Schmiedel, on the other hand, insiststhat a grave moral charge is made against Moses, andthat Paul most unjustly uses the Old Testament, inits own despite, to prove its own transitoriness. Ibelieve it would be far truer to say that the characterof Moses never crossed Paul's mind in the wholepassage, for better or worse ; he only remembered, ashe smarted under the accusation of veiling his Gospelof the new covenant, a certain transaction under theold covenant in which a veil did figure — a transactionwhich a Rabbinical interpretation, whimsical indeed tous, but provoking if not convincing to his adversaries,enabled him to turn against them. As for provingthe transitoriness of the Old Testament by a forced andillegitimate argument, that transitoriness was abund-antly established to Paul, as it is to us, on real grounds ;nothing whatever depends on what is here said of Moses and the veil. It is not necessary, if we takethis view, to go into the historical interpretation of thelook on," etc. Moses would thus veil himself in view of the fact thatthey did not see : the veil would be the symbol of the judicial blind-

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