Moses went up to speak with God on Mount Sinai 8 times. On the 8th ascend, when he came down his face was shining with light. Light so amazing and bright, it gave fear to the people that they requested his face to be veiled.
1. When did Moses’ face shine?
Through God’s invitation, Israel came out of Egypt. And through Jesus’ invitation, we came out of the sinful world. Through this message (Exodus 19-34), we see God’s invitation and sanctification of His people. This is similar to the process of our sanctification, how we come closer to God and how He leads us and keeps on calling us back to His presence.
God gave Moses 2 tablets inscribed by His own finger. When God gave him the law, the 2 tablets and the pattern of the tabernacle, God was now going to come down to dwell among the people. When Moses was coming down from the 6th ascend, he was bringing the tablets down and the people were worshipping the idol of the golden calf. And the contract was shattered.
During the 7th ascend, Moses prayed and mediated on top of Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights. Finally, God said, “I will go with you and bless you. Cut out the 2 stones just like the original ones and bring them up and I will write with my fingers on the tablets again”. When Moses was coming down during the 8th ascend with the newly renewed covenant, that was when his face shone.
These 8 ascents give us the spiritual timeline of our renewal. Only after the repentance and renewal, his face shone. We come to believe in God through His invitation, through Jesus Christ we are renewed. Through the History of Redemption, God is allowing us to see the sin buried deep in our hearts and lives, and God wants to take that out.
When God shines light upon us, He wants the deepest darkness to turn into light. So may we go through this process of redemption, where God invites, sanctifies, and cleanses us. And then God will write again on the new tablets of our hearts, renew that covenant and go with us all the way to the promised land (Exodus 33:12-19, 34:5-11, 29).
2. Why did Moses’ face shine?
Before God’s merciful glory came through an audible voice. With the appearance of God’s glory through the word of God Himself, Moses is able to meet and see God. Exodus 34:34-35 says when Moses finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face. His face was shining so brightly that people couldn’t handle it.
God said He spoke to Moses face to face (Numbers 12:8). And when that light of God’s glory came upon Moses, all the darkness deep inside was taken out. That needs to happen in us in order for us to genuinely shine in our lives. We need the eternal light in us.
3. Significance of Moses’ face shining after the 8th ascend on mount Sinai.
I. Restoration of God’s light and glory that mankind had lost due to the fall
Moses’ face shining brightly foreshadows us restoring the image of God that we have lost. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve didn’t see shame. Because they are clothed with the light of God’s glory, there was no sin, therefore no shame. Moses’ face shining is a foreshadowing of us after our redemption is completed and we will also be clothed in the glory of God, light and image of God.
II. All darkness and sins have been cast out by the light, completely filled with the word of light only.
Are we completely filled with the Word of light? Or is there still space for darkness? Let us really lift that up to God and ask God to shine brightly upon that darkness. May the word of God cast out all your darkness.
III. He is in the presence of God.
Only in the presence of God, there is light. Those who are in sin, when they see the face of God, they can’t handle the purity of God’s word and they will die, as written in Exodus 3. However when we are covered with His mercy, when we become His possession, then we don’t have to die. Moses was at the spiritual level where He can commune and talk to God, this is again the restoration of the Garden of Eden. Moses is a type of Jesus Christ. Jesus, Himself is the light (John 1:1-4). He is the word, who is God, and He is life and light of man (John 1:4-5). Those who receive His word and believed in Him were enlightened but there were people who didn’t receive in Him (John 1:9-13).
4. Let us think about the veil.
When Jesus came He was the light, His true identity is the light, God Himself. But He also had that veil over his identity, which is the flesh. He came in the flesh, when people saw Him, they just saw Him as a human being, a guy from Nazareth. But when Jesus tried to show His identity and show His light saying “I am the Father is one, I am the bread of life from heaven, I and the Father are one”, people step back and pick up stones to stone him. They become darker. While some people realised they are sinners, received the light and got rid of their sins. In 2 Corinthians 3:13-16, Apostle Paul explained about this veil.
I. Veil signifies a hardened mind.
Apostle Paul is saying the hardness of the heart that is stubborn and resisting to believing Jesus, that heart is the veil. It is the heart that rejects the fact that Jesus is the Messiah.
II. Veil signifies an ignorant heart or mind toward the Word.
There are people who are not interested in learning or reading the word of God. But God says in Hosea 1-6: I want to know you and you to know about me. Christianity is not superstition, it is different from many beliefs. It is a covenantal relationship with God (Job 8:2, Psalm 32:9). According to Psalm 82:5, not knowing God and His word is walking about in the darkness. Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). Hence we need to pray that God may take away such a veil from us, the veil of ignorance.
III. Spiritual insensitivity (Psalms 119:17, John 12:40, Ephesians 4:19)
Does the word of God offend you? Let us bravely come out to the light and tell God: “God, there is darkness in me, please shine that light upon my heart.” May we bring all our worries and troubles today to God and let God shine upon them in our prayers and we will be able to shine brightly.
Conclusion: How do we remove the veil?
It is removed in Christ, we need to be joined to Jesus as one. Jesus said in Matthew 11:27, that is Father’s will for everyone to come to Him and Jesus wants to reveal the Father to us. There are people who experience God’s glory and saw His light in the New Testament, they are Jesus’ disciples and Apostle Paul. Jesus’ disciples saw Jesus in light at the mount of transfiguration. After they saw that light, they were able to believe it. They became apostles and the people who began the church and proclaimed the word.
When the word of God shines upon us, we know we need to change our way, the ways of our thinking and life. Is the word of truth still burdensome to us? Do we need that vile or can you handle the truth of God’s word? In a way, our old self does need to die and has to die in order for us to be able to receive that light. Let us not worry, let us lift up that simple prayer to God: “God please shine upon me and help to come into your light out of darkness”. May this church shine upon this nation of Singapore and eventually to the ends of this earth.