Question:

Exodus 34:33-35 talks about Moses putting on the veil because his face was radiant after speaking with the Lord, which I read it to mean that people would be scared to see a glowing face which reminded them the fear of God, but in II Corinthinas 3:13 it says that Moses didn't want people to see the radiance on his face fading away is why he put on the veil, which then I read it as meaning that Moses didn't want people to undermine his authority because the fading radiance may mean the departure of God's immediate presence upon him. I like to hear your teaching on this subject. 


Answer:

"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. 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. Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. 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. And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 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. 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" (Exodus 34:29-35).

The passage does say that the children of Israel were afraid to come close to Moses because his skin glowed after being near the Lord, but it does not say why Moses veiled his face. We can make assumptions, but we have to remember that they are nothing more than assumptions.

"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, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?" (II Corinthians 3:7-8).

"Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech -- 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" (II Corinthians 3:12-13).

Nothing in Paul's account states that Moses was attempting to preserve his authority. Paul makes the point that the glory of Moses' face was fading and that the Israelites could not bring themselves to look at what was fading. From that he draws a parallel to Jews view of the Law itself. They refused to see that it had faded away.

There is a discussion of II Corinthians 3 in Delivering a Glorious Message.