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The Veil of Moses

The English word veil is commonly spelled two ways, veil, because it originated from a French word that was spelled that way, and vail, because some began writing the word in the way that they thought best reflected how it is pronounced when spoken in English. Regardless of the spelling, the words mean the same - something that is suspended in front of something else to wholly or partially block the view.

A number of original Hebrew and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures are translated into English as veil (or vail), but two of them refer only to the veil that Moses placed over his face after meeting with The Lord. The Hebrew word, pronounced mas-veh, means to cover; it is used only 3 times in the Holy Scriptures, all in referring to Moses. The Greek word, pronounced kal-oo-mah, which means a covering, is found only 4 times in the Bible, all of which refer to the same veil of Moses.

"And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face"

Moses was a very unique servant of The Lord (see The Education Of Moses). Note that the veil was placed over Moses' face when He spoke to the people, not when he spoke with The Lord. Unlike the people, with few exceptions, at that time, Moses had the Holy Spirit ("I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee," Numbers 11:17 KJV); Moses could "see" ("there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom The Lord knew face to face," Deuteronomy 34:10 KJV).


"And it came to pass, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand [see What Did The Ten Commandments Look Like?], when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that The Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai."

"And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. But when Moses went in before The Lord [see YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD] to speak with Him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him." (Exodus 34:29-35 KJV)

The apostle Paul, the former Pharisee who came to understand spiritual blindness from his own pre-conversion life (see Paul's Ministry) explained how carnal Israel becomes spiritual Israel, not by abandoning God's Law, but by obeying and living by it - just as Jesus Christ commanded true Christians to do (see Jot and Tittle).

"Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshly tables of the heart."

"And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament [see The Old and New Covenants]; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."

"But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?"

"For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious."

"Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished [see Why Was It Torn?]: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which veil is done away in Christ [see "God Forbid, Lord!"; also Unveiling of Spiritual Truths]. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to The Lord, the veil shall be taken away."

"Now The Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of The Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of The Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of The Lord. " (2 Corinthians 3:3-18 KJV)

Fact Finder: What did the original words of the Holy Scriptures mean by "Moses' face shone"?
See The Shining

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