The Berean Expositor
Volume 20 - Page 96 of 195
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through . . . . . to gaze". When Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders
ascended the Mount, we read that "they saw the God of Israel". In the passage we are
considering Moses must have desired something more than had been vouchsafed on the
earlier occasion. Moses said, "Let me see Thy glory". The Lord answered:--
"Thou canst not see My face" (Exod. 33: 20).
"While My glory passeth by, I will put thee in a clift in the rock, and will cover thee
with My hand, while I pass by: And I will take away Mine hand, and thou shalt see My
back parts: but My face shall not be seen" (Exod. 33: 22, 23).
Does it seem evident that in this passage "glory" and "face" are interchangeable in
some way? Spurrell translates Exod.33: 18-23 as follows:--
"Furthermore he said: O show me, I pray Thee, THINE OWN SELF! . . . . . then will
I turn aside . . . . . this the hollow of My hand, and thou shalt behold Me retiring, but My
face shall not be seen."
This was the fullest revelation that could then be given to any mortal man.
The prayer of Moses is answered for us all in II Cor. 4: 4 and 6:--
"The light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God . . . . . the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the FACE OF JESUS CHRIST."
That this is connected with Exod. 33: and 34: is seen by a reference to
II Cor. 3: There we read of the passing glory of the old covenant, and the failing glory
of the face of Moses (II Cor. 3: 7). All that the Lord could do for Moses was to let His
goodness pass before him and proclaim the Name of the Lord before him. Moses needed
protection from the fuller personal revelation of the Lord, and the clift in the rock and
covering hand might well speak to Moses of his need of Christ. The glory of the law
fades in the presence of "the glory that excelleth" (II Cor. 3: 10, 11). It was nevertheless
a gracious revelation to Moses. The proclamation of the Name, its effect upon Moses,
the altered covenant, and the summary of its terms given in Exod. 34:, must be
reserved for our next paper.