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Related to these comparisons is the word "glory". The law of Mount Sinai "was
glorious", not only in the magnificence and terror that accompanied the giving of the law,
but in the extraordinary effect the receiving of the law had upon Moses. "His face shone"
so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses "for the glory
of his countenance". Yet that glory was transient, "which glory was to be done away".
The glory of the New Covenant is expressed in such terms as "rather glorious", "exceed
in glory", "the glory that excelleth", and the difference between the two covenants is
summed up in the words:
"For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is
glorious" (II Cor. 3: 11).
To enforce this fact upon the heart and conscience of his hearer, Paul proceeds to
enlarge the reference to the glory of the face of Moses:
"Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as
Moses, which put a veil over his face" (II Cor. 3: 12, 13).
The word translated "plainness of speech" parrhesia is rendered many times
"boldness" as in Eph. 3: 12, but the actual composition of the word and its usage here
in II Cor. 3: and elsewhere indicate that "plainness" is the prime meaning of the term.
"And He spake that saying openly" (Mark 8: 32).
"For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known
openly. If thou do these things, show thyself to the world" (John 7: 4).
"Howbeit no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews" (John 7: 13).
Speaking "openly" in the face of foes becomes speaking "boldly", but the primary
idea of something open, frank, sincere, plain must never be forgotten.
"These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I
shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall show you plainly of the Father"
(John 16: 25). Here proverbial and parabolic speech is put over against speaking
"plainly". So the reference to Moses in no way implies that Moses was cowardly and
that Paul was "bold", but that Moses used a "veil" and that Paul spoke "plainly".
"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."
The word translated `abolish' is katargeo, from kata intensive, and argos inactive,
useless, inoperative. Into the word `abolish' there has crept in modern use, the idea of
destruction which does not reside in the etymology of the word, or in its usage.
"Abolish" is derived by some etymologists from the Latin aboleo "To grow out of use"
and is synonymous with "abrogate, annul, disannul, cancel and revoke, and is applied
especially to laws, customs, institutions or offices". By Greek writers the word katargeo
was particularly applied to land, as in Luke 13: 7 "Why combereth it the ground?"
Like practically every word in human speech, katargeo is used not only in the primary
sense of abrogation, but in the derived senses that are the consequences of this
abrogation, namely "to be destroyed", "to be delivered", "to be done away".