The Berean Expositor
Volume 47 - Page 76 of 185
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glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord', in contrast with the evanescent glory of
the face of Moses, which, so far as the record goes, changed nobody.
Katoptrizomai. This word is a compound, derived ultimately from optomai `to see'.
While the distinction between optomai and horao is extremely difficult to define,
optomai is the more reflective seeing of the two. Katoptron is a mirror, and occurs in the
LXX of Exod. 38: 8 (verse 26 in the LXX), where we learn from the A.V. that the
`looking glasses' were made of `brass'.
When writing to the Corinthians in the first epistle, the Apostle uses the figure of a
mirror to show the contrast between present `partial' knowledge, `by means of a mirror,
enigmatically', and the future revelation of truth when we are `face to face' (ICor.xiii.12).
Here in II Cor. 3:, he reverts to the figure of a mirror, but this time with other thoughts
in view.
Plato uses the word katoptrizomai, when he advised drunken persons to look at
themselves in a mirror. Ancient mirrors were made of highly polished metal, and so it
must necessarily have happened, as Parkhurst observes, that the person who looked at his
image in them, would have his face strongly illuminated by the reflected rays.
Macknight translated the passage "Receiving and reflecting, in the manner of a
mirror". Liddle and Scott, when dealing with katoptrizomai say, "In II Cor. 3: 18, to
give back, reflect light, as by a mirror". As the believer looks into the burnished mirror
of the Gospel, here in particular the New Covenant, he not only beholds, as James says
his natural face, and then straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was (James 1: 23,
24), but he beholds the glory of the Lord, for he cannot see `his natural face'; he can only
behold himself now as `in Christ Jesus'. Moses when he beheld the glory of the Lord at
the giving of the law, was momentarily transfigured, but like the Old Covenant itself, that
glory faded. When we who believe behold and reflect that glory, "we are transfigured".
Metamorphoo has come over into our language in the form `metamorphosis', and is
used in science for the changes observed in rocks, and particularly in insects, from the
caterpillar to the gorgeous butterfly. This is the word that is translated `transfigure' in
Matt. 17: 2 and Mark 9: 2 and `transform' in Rom. 12: 2. It is something for which
we cannot be too thankful that evangelical preaching has always emphasized the Cross,
the Death and the Resurrection of Christ, but it is to be deplored that neither the
Ascension, nor the Transfiguration have been accorded their rightful places in the Gospel.
These belong to the Gospel of the Glory, as surely as the others belong to the Gospel of
grace. Peter refers to the confirming nature of the vision which he had `in the holy
mount' (II Pet. 1: 18). Both Moses and Elijah too, were there, for all glory is passing,
only the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ abides. That this `transfiguration' has a
spiritual equivalent in the believer, Rom. 12: 2 makes evident. In both I Cor. xiii and
II Cor. 3: & 4: even though the purpose of the illustration is different, there is the
passing from the present partial perception of truth to the full blaze of revelation, and
this is indicated by the change from looking into a mirror, and speaking face to face. So
II Cor. 3: 18 finds its glorious sequel and fulfillment in II Cor. 4: 6, the glory of the