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.
Paul’s ministry was not like Moses’, which was a temporary glory. Verses 13-17 are a commentary on Exodus 34:29-35. Moses represented the Old Covenant, the old way of ministry.
who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily
The veil that Moses put over his face hid its fading radiance. The transient nature of the glory on Moses’ face corresponds to the diminishing nature of the Mosaic Covenant. This phrase references Exodus 34:33. The patriarch put the veil over his face so that Israel could not see the temporary nature of his glory. The Law was not permanent, but a temporary way of life.
at the end [termination] of what was passing away.
The “end” in this phrase refers to the glory of Moses’ face had a consequence; the death of God’s glory came from the hardened hearts of Israel. In Moses’ day, Israel was enthralled with the golden calf. They did not receive the blessing of the Old Covenant because the revelation of God’s glory would destroy them in their sinful state.
Paul, however, can be bold because Christ Himself is the end of the Old Covenant as a means of fellowship with God. Christians can encounter the glory of God because Christ annulled and fulfilled the Old Covenant. The Old economy was set aside in favor of the New Covenant. Jews of Paul’s day were blind to this transition into a new economy.
The nature of spirituality in the administration of grace is superior to that of the Law.
Christians can observe God’s glory more fully in the New Covenant because it is permanent; it will not fade away like with Moses. Christ fulfilled the Law on behalf of the Christian (Ro 10:4). There is no further need to measure up to the Law because our Lord did that for us. He made us worthy to receive God’s glory.
However, Christians who have hardened hearts toward what Christ did for them cannot grow in God’s glory.