Summary: When we turn to the Lord, the veil will be lifted.
2 Corinthians 3:13 - 18
Women in Afghanistan have to wear a veil whenever they leave their homes. This veil is called a burqa, and it’s a fairly heavy garment that goes from the top of their heads all the way to the ground. They have a patch of net or some gauzy material that covers their eyes so they can see out, but the rest of their bodies is entirely hidden from view. These veils are hot and heavy and restrictive. The women who have to wear them feel like they’re smothering.
In many parts of the world, and in America depending on what state you’re in, when a convicted criminal is executed, a veil or hood is put over the face. This is so they can’t see what’s about to happen, and also so the people watching the execution won’t be upset by any facial contortions that might happen at the time of death.
It used to be traditional for a bride to wear a veil over her face as she walked down the aisle to meet her intended. When she reached the front of the church, the veil was lifted, and she and the groom could look into each other’s faces.
Veils are used for different things and for different reasons. In the case of the bride, the veil is looked on as a beautiful, meaningful part of a wedding service. In the case of the condemned criminal, it’s to keep people from looking into the face of death. In the case of the women of Afghanistan, it’s to control and oppress.
All these different veils are basically used for the same purpose - to separate. Veils come in different sizes and are made from different materials, but they still separate. They separate people from other people; people from things; people from places.
There was a veil in the Temple of the Lord in Jerusalem. It’s sometimes called a curtain, so we know it had to be rather large. It separated the people from an area within the temple called the Holy of Holies.
The Holy of Holies was basically a room within a room within a room. This is where the ark of the covenant was kept, and since God was generally believed to dwell in the ark, the Holy of Holies was where God lived.
Since no one could look upon God and live, no one was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies except the high priest, and he only once a year on the day of atonement, when he went in to ask forgiveness for all the sins the people had committed during the past year.
In today’s Scripture, Paul is writing to the church at Corinth about the new covenant in Christ. In this letter, he makes reference to Moses and his veil.
In Exodus 34, verses 29 through 35, we read the story of Moses and his radiant face. "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the Lord. When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.
But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the Lord had given him on Mount Sinai.