Sunday, February 1, 2009

2 Corinthians 3 - ministry of death, tablets of stone abolished?

NKJ 2 Corinthians 3:1
Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need, as some others, epistles of commendation to you or letters of commendation from you?
2 You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
3 clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart.
4 And we have such trust through Christ toward God.
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 But if the MINISTRY OF DEATH, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of THE GLORY OF HIS COUNTENANCE, WHICH GLORY WAS PASSING AWAY

8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the MINISTRY OF RIGHTEOUSNESS exceeds much more in glory.
10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels.
11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech--
13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away.
14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ.
15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart.
16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Paul is referring to an event that happened in the Torah. Are you familar with that? In context this is the second set of tablets that God told Moses to cut and he (Moses) spent 40 days and nights carving out a new set because the first set - remember? He came down the mountain and broke them in his anger over the children doing what? Breaking God's explicit instructions with the golden calf.... Read all of Exodus 34:

27 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel."
28 So he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments.
29 Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses' hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him.
30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him.
31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them.
32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the LORD had spoken with him on Mount Sinai.
33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 But whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded.
35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

Here is how I see this...Now Pauls audience would have known this Torah truth. The children of Israel did not want to hear God's voice. They wanted Moses to tell them whatever God told him about his law. It was written on tablets of stone. This new covenant promise was that the law of God would be written on hearts of flesh not stone. Like it was on stone during the time of Moses. Again sinful nature of us humans. The New Covenant you are mentioning is found in Jeremiah 31:

31 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I WILL MAKE A NEW COVENANT with THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND WITH THE HOUSE OF JUDAH--

32 "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD.
33 "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
34 "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying,`Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

It is a here now but not yet. We have the down payment for this promise in Jesus our Messiah and the Holy Spirit being given - but look at that promise. I don't believe the New Covenant is fully here yet because of verse 34. I am still teaching my neighbor and my brother - we don't all know the L-rd yet.

This is just the surface and by no means all the details associated with these passages. I am just trying to respond to the abolished comment and use what you gave me to help explain my position on this matter with the verse you gave. I hope that helps you understand where I am.

Susan Waterman (In response to a post made in a Face Book Forum that the 10 commandments have been "abolished" and "done away with")

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