MINISTRY OF THE NEW COVENANT In the last chapter the apostle talked about the mutual love between the shepherd and the flock, and among the members of the flock; and sought from them to reaffirm the true and practical love to the repentant. Now he reveals that the ministry of the New Covenant is a ministry of the Spirit that grants life; and not a ministry of the deadly letter; presenting a comparison between the gospel of the New Testament and the literality of the law, without offending the law in itself. He revealed as well the glory of this ministry, not comparable to the glory of the Old Covenant; and sought from them to take away the veil from their faces, as it is no longer needed, in order to realize the depths of its glory. 1- Between the gospel and the law 1 - 5 2- A glorious ministry 6 - 11 3- A ministry without veil 12 – 17 1- BETWEEN THE GOSPEL AND THE LAW: “Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or do we need as some others, letters of commendation to you or from you?” (1) The apostle proclaims to them that he is no need for oral or written commendation to them from other churches, nor from them to other churches; As his ministry, being a great and honorable ministry of the New Covenant, he needs no commendation from anyone to give him honor or glory; His ministry is a divine ministry, and his justification is from God Himself who called him to it. He never had any doubt in God’s call, in his own faithfulness in the ministry, in his triumph by Christ Jesus, or in God’s support to him. St. Dedymus the blind says that the apostle Paul delicately shows his astonishment in how the Corinthians were still not able 67 to realize what is behind his use of the apostolic authority1! Here, he talks, not to boast, but to spare them being deceived by anyone. “You are our letter written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (2) They are the letter that he does not read by his mouth, nor send to other churches, but he rather read it by his heart, to have his inner depths exult for the sake of God’s grace working in them. As nothing would bring forth joy to the minister’s heart more than to read the work of God in the life of those he ministers; because in them he can realize the extent of his success by the divine grace. Being in Paul’s heart, where there is a flame of the fire of love, he is no need of anyone to remind him of them. Being the subject of his exalted love, wherever he goes, people could read what he carries for them of love; he perpetually speaks about them, or about God’s work in them through him. The salvation of the Corinthians has been in Paul’s heart, as well as in those of his co-workers; and he was perpetually thinking about it2. (Ambrosiaster) Comparing between the mission of the apostle Paul, and that of the great among the angels, the archangel Michael, St. John Chrysostom says: While the mission of the archangel Michael was caring for the Jews (Daniel 12: 1), that of the apostle Paul covered the inhabited and the uninhabited parts of the earth, and the seas. This does not belittle the mission of the archangel Michael; far from it. But I mean to say that man could enjoy the fellowship of the angels, and could even be in the same rank and have the same honor3. (St. John Chrysostom) 1 Pauline Comm. From the Greek Church. 2 CSEL 81: 213. . 3 في مدیح القدیس بولس، عظة 2 68 “You are manifestly a letter 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” (3) It is as though he says: Why should I need letters of commendation, when you yourselves, by your new life, are such a letter, not written by ink on papers, but by the spirit in our hearts; testifying to my work before my conscience, as well as before people. Your life is the best letter, perpetually open and read. They are the letter of Christ; And Paul, together with other apostles or ministers, are nothing more than ministers to them, tools used by the Lord Christ, the Source of every goodness in them. In the Old Covenant, God gave them His commandments inscribed on tablets of stone (Exodus 31: 18; Deuteronomy 9: 10). But now, with the advent of the era of grace, God took away from them the nature of stone, and wrote His law by His Holy Spirit on tablets of flesh, namely on their hearts; as He previously promised in the book of Ezekiel: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My spirit within you” (Ezekiel 36: 26, 27). That is how God sets out of the heart of the believer, what is like the ark of the covenant to contain inside it the two tablets of the law, and the gospel, written with the finger of God, namely His Holy Spirit. The apostle sees himself as though the ink by which the finger of God, namely, His Holy Spirit, writes His gospel within the hearts of millions. Speaking about his ministry among them, the apostle proclaims its amazing glory, being: a- They are his letter (2) written by the apostle Paul by the grace of God in him, together with an abundance of strife and near deaths. b- They are the letter of Christ, having become a practical gospel read by all. c- The living Spirit of God writes the gospel of Christ in their hearts 69 d- Their hearts turned into a new ark of covenant, including the gospel of grace. e- The apostle became like the ink, by which the spirit writes in their hearts. f- The gospel of Christ is written in their hearts, where their emotions, feelings, intentions, and thoughts, are completely absorbed to the account of the kingdom of God. The divine law, given through Moses, was written by the finger of God, believed by many to be His Holy Spirit1. (St. Augustine) “And we have such trust through Christ toward God” (4) The apostle Paul has complete trust that God has well received his ministry, a sign of which is that by it, the Gentiles have received faith through their enjoyment of the salvation work of Christ. “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (5) Such trust that God has well received his ministry, and that it produced fruition in the life of the Gentiles, especially in Corinth, did not make Paul arrogantly proud of himself, or let him refer to himself the ability of enlightening the mind or renewing the heart; He knows for sure that he is just a tool in God’s hand; and it is God alone who grants the holy will, the pure thought and emotions, and the blessed feelings, He is the Source of every strength, blessing, and grace. “…to have the right to become children of God” (John 1: 12); That could not be set upon human strength, but upon the power of God, received by men from God, who inspires holy thoughts into our heart, through which we care for “the faith working through love” (Galatians 5: 6); because “We are not sufficient of 1 St. Augustine: On Ps. 8. 70 ourselves, … but our sufficiency is from God”, who has authority on our hearts and minds1. (St. Augustine) “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” (6) Crawling into the church of Corinth, the false teachers concentrated on the literal application of the Mosaic law, in an attempt to oppose the apostle Paul, whom they accused of breaking the law. Paul previously asked: “who is sufficient for these things?” (2: 16); Here came the answer that God made him and his coworkers sufficient enough to be ministers of the New Covenant. God called him to minister the New Covenant, by the spirit and not by the deadly letter. Here Paul compares between the ministry of the old Covenant, characterized by the letter, and the ministry of the New Covenant, that should be practiced by the Spirit. The former ministry on which the letter prevails is deadly, for it did nothing more than to reveal the extent of corruption that man has reached, without presenting the possibility of reaching the incorruption. It is not the law itself that is deadly, for it is rather a mirror that reveals the death that dwelt upon the sinner because of his disobedience; Whereas the ministry of the New Covenant offers the treatment. The apostle here, does not speak as though he is against the ministry of the Old Covenant, but he warns against sticking to the letter, even if it is held fast by the ministers of the New Covenant. If the Jews, by rejecting the spiritual understanding of the law, did not enjoy the salvation of Christ, So will be the ministers of the new Covenant if they reject the spiritual understanding of the gospel; they will stumble. We are committed to praise together with the blessed David, saying: “my strength and song”, are not by my free will itself, but by “the Lord who has became my salvation” (Psalm 118: 1 Gift of Perseverance 8: 20. 71 14). The teacher of the Gentile was not ignorant of that, when he proclaimed that he became sufficient enough to become a minister of the New Covenant, not because of his worthiness and his strife, but by the mercy of God: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God” (3: 5, 6) 1. (Father Pavnotius) The letter means what is material; while the Spirit means what is mental, which we call spiritual2. We became sufficient by the lord, the Minister of the New Covenant, who leads the proof of the Spirit and the power; so that, when the believers conform with Him, their faith would be, not by the human wisdom, but by the power of God3. (The scholar Origen) The apostle Paul truly says: “The letter kills but the Spirit gives life”. The letter circumcises a part of the body; whereas the Spirit completely keeps the circumcision of the soul and the body; so that the purity is kept, the self-control is beloved, and the un-necessary parts are taken away (as there is nothing necessary in the iniquity of greed, and in the sins of sexual immorality, that do not belong to nature, but came as a fruition of lust}. The carnal circumcision is a symbol; whereas the spiritual circumcision is the truth; the former cuts off a body part, while the later cuts off sin4. The Spirit gives life. But you have to understand that the grant of life, which is the work of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, is indivisible; And in order to know the unity of granting life through the spirit, Paul says: “He who raised Christ from the dead, will also give life to your mortal bodies through the Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8: 11) 5. 1 Cassian: Conferences. 3: 15. 2 De Principiis 1: 1: 2. 3 Commentary on John, 4: 2. 4 Letter to Clementianus, 68. 5 The Holy Spirit 2: 4: 30. 72 (St. Ambrose) Although the law was spiritual, yet it did not give the Spirit; Moses had the letter and not the Spirit; While we were given the gift of the Spirit1. (St. John Chrysostom) How does the Spirit give life? By consummating the letter, that it would not kill2. To long for Christ, confess to Christ, believe in Christ. By adding the Spirit to the letter, you would be saved, while if you take the Spirit away from the letter, the letter would kill; and if it does, where would the hope be? But the spirit gives life3. You who fear God, praise Him; to worship Him, not as slaves but as free. Learn how to love Him whom you fear; to be able to praise Him whom you love. Men of the Old Covenant feared God because of the letter that terrifies and kills; and did not have the Spirit who gives life. They used to run to the temple to offer sacrifices of blood, ignorant of the shadow through them; ignorant of the fact that they were a symbol of the blood to come, by which all are to be saved4. God commands chastity, and it is He who gives chastity by the command of the law. And He gives the Spirit; as the law without the grace would make sin abounds more (Romans 5: 20). The letter without the Spirit kills. He commands to teach us how to ask for the help of the grace when we attempt to obey His commandments; and in our weakness and anxiety, we fall under the law; And also to make us thankful to Him for helping us, if we manage to do any good work5. 1 In 2 Cor. Hom. 6: 2. 2 Easter Season, 251: 7. 3 Sermons on New Testament Lassons, 86: 5. 4 Letter to Honoratus 140: 19. 5 Letter to Hilarius 157 73 If you take away the Spirit, how would the law be of benefit? Because of this the Book says: “The letter kills”. The law commands, and you still do not obey it. There are things forbidden and you still practice them. You see how “the Letter kills”?1. Let the Spirit be united to the law; For, when you receive the law, and you do not have the help of the Spirit, you could not consummate what came in the law … You should have the Spirit to help you consummate what you are commanded to do; Because in the absence of the Spirit, the letter would kill you … You could not make the ignorance an excuse, as long as you have received the law. Now, having learned what you should do, you could not make ignorance an excuse… But why did the apostle say: “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”? How could the Spirit give life? Because He makes the letter realized, so that it would not kill. The holy are those who consummate the law of God according to the gift of God. The law commands, but it could not help; The Spirit is then added as a Helper, to consummate the commandments of God joyfully and with gladness. There is no doubt that many keep the law out of fear; But those who keep the law out of love for righteousness, would rejoice, and count it not stranger from them2. By the law of works, God says to us: ‘Do according to My commands’, but by the law of faith, we say to God: ‘Give us what you commanded’3. (St. Augustine) Paul does not say ‘the ministry of the law’, but says: “the ministry of death” (7), talking rather about its results, to lessen its appeal4. (Theodor. Bishop of Messisa) 1 Eastter Season 259: 3. 2 Eastter Season, 251: 7. 3 On the Spirit & the Letter, 22. 4 Pauline Comm. From the Greek Church. 74 Paul reveals the results of both ministries: While in the former, he concentrates on its results, namely, death, and the separation from God; In the later he concentrates on the Spirit Himself1. The law ministered to death, though it was not its cause; What caused death is sin; but the law brought forth the punishment, and revealed what sin was about … The law did not minister to bring forth sin or death; but for the sinner to endure the punishment; becoming by that more destructive by the sin2. (St. John Chrysostom) “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” (7) By the ministry of death here, he means the law that established the punishment of the disobedient; by which we recognized the sin and desired it. This ministry (the ten commandments), engraved on tablets of stone; was a glorious and exalted ministry; As while delivering the law, the mountain smoked, lightening appeared and thunder was heard; and the countenance of Moses, the receiver of the law shined with splendor, a sign of the glory of the law which he received. The glory that appeared on the face of Moses was a symbol of the true glory. And the way the Jews could not look at the face of Moses; the Christians get the glory of the light within themselves; while the darkness fades off and fly away, not able to endure the brightness of the light3. (St. Maccar the Great) The things promised, being eternal, are engraved by the Spirit of God; contrary to those temporary things, written by ink, that fade away and lose their strength4. (Ambrosister) 1 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 1. 2 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 1. 3 Sermon 47: 1. 4 CSEL 81: 213. 75 It is God who wrote the law; But Paul and his co-workers prepared men to receive the things written; the same way Moses cut the two tablets of stone (Exodus 34: 1-4), Paul conformed their souls1. (St. John Chrysostom) Paul shows the preference of the grace of the Spirit over the law; and the exaltation of preaching by the apostles over the ordinance of the prophets2. (Severian. Bishop of Gebalah) God wrote by his finger on tablets of stone delivered to Moses; not by a carnal finger, but by the Spirit, He gave the law. If the epistle of the apostle was written by the Spirit, What would then stand on the way of our commitment to believe that the law of God was written, not by ink, but by the Spirit of God, that enlightens the secrets of our hearts3. (St. Ambrosiaster) As the pen is the tool of writing, when moved by the hand of an experienced person, So is the tongue of a righteous person, when moved by the Holy Spirit, will write the words of the eternal life in the hearts of believers, immersing it, not in ink, but in the “living Spirit of God”. Therefore the Writer is the Holy Spirit, for being a wise and a capable Teacher for all; The Spirit writes quickly, because the movement of His mind are swift; He writes the thoughts in us, “Not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of flesh” (3). The Spirit writes according to the size of the heart, more or less; either things obvious for everyone, or more vague; according to the purity of the heart; And because of the swift writing, the whole world is filled with the gospel4. (St. Basil the Great) These are the laws of the mind; words that grant inspiration, written by the finger of God, not on tablets of stone, but 1 IN 2 Cor. Hom. 6: 2. 2 Pauline Comm. From the Greek Church. 3 The Holy Spirit 3: 3: 13. 4 On Ps. 44, hom. 17. 76 engraved on the hearts of men. They only support those whose hearts are not attached to corruption. The tablets of the cruel hearts will break; whereas the faith of the little men will conform in sensitive minds. Both laws minister to the word as a way to teach humanity; one through Moses, and the other through the apostles1. (St. Clement of Alexandria) The Head of the household would probably be Jesus himself, who brings out of His treasure, new spiritual things, perpetually renewed by Him in the inner man of the righteous, those who are renewed day by day (4: 16); And He brings out as well, old things, engraved on the stony hearts of the ancient man; So that by comparing the letter with the Spirit, the writer would enrich him who becomes a disciple to the kingdom of God, and makes him in his likeness, that the disciple would become like his teacher; conforming to the likeness of him who conforms to Christ; then conforming to the likeness of Christ Himself; according to the words of Paul: “Imitate me, just I also imitate Christ” (1 Corinthians 11: 1) 2. We got to understand two things concerning the law: the ministry of death engraved in letters, that has no relationship to the Spirit; And the ministry of life, understood in the law by the Spirit. Those with a faithful heart could say: “We know that the law is spiritual” (Romans 7: 14); as the law is holy, and so is the commandment, holy, just, and good (Romans 7: 12); It is the plantation by the heavenly Father3. (The scholar Origen) “How will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?” (8) “For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory” (9) 1 Paedagogus 3: 12: 94. 2 Commentary on Matthew, 10: 15. 3 Commentary on Matthew, 11: 14. 77 By the ministry of condemnation, he means the law that condemns the sin; Whereas by the ministry of righteousness, he means the gospel of the New Covenant that justifies him who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Righteous; That the believer would bear the righteousness of Christ. How great, glorious, and very awesome is the law; delivered to oppose the sin, and to confront the kingdom of darkness; and how much more so would be the gospel that grants the righteousness, and establishes in us the kingdom of light. What the law intends for, but could not realize, the gospel presents in abundance. The law presented a shadow of the truth; While the gospel brought forth the Truth itself. The law condemns the sinners; Whereas the grace receives and justifies them by faith. It leads them to the holy baptism, and grant them the forgiveness of sins1. (Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus) Moses’ commandments are “the ministry of condemnation”; Whereas the grace by the Savior, he calls “the ministry of righteousness” superior in glory. The law that condemns was given by Moses; while the grace that justifies came through the Only begotten Son. So how would Christ not be incomparably exalted in glory2?! (St. Cyril the Great) To interpret more clearly the meaning of “The letter kills”, he says: As the law revealed the sin, yet it did not cause it; Therefore, “the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory”, for those two tablets of the law have truly exposed the sinners and punished them; whereas the ministry of righteousness, not only did not punish the sinners, but made them righteous. That is what we enjoy through baptism3. (St. John Chrysostom) 1 PG 82: 394. 2 Comm. On John, book 1, ch. 10: 17. 3 In 2 Cor. Hom 7, PG 61: 481. 78 Because the glory of the Spirit which shined on Moses’ face, that no one could endure looking at it; By that sign, we know how the bodies would be glorified by the resurrection of the righteous. That same glory will count the faithful souls worthy of gaining the glories in the inner man, by meditating in the glory of the Lord with an unveiled face, namely, in that same inner man, he is glorified from glory to glory according to the same image1. (Father Gregory Palamas) Paul says that because there is no greater glory than the salvation from death. Anyway, a judge who justly condemns the guilty, would be worthy of greater honor if he showed mercy; as he would be giving the guilty a chance to correct his ways2. (Ambrosiaster) We first need the glory that will pass away, for the sake of the exalted glory; the way we need the partial knowledge that will pass away, with the dwelling of the perfect knowledge3. (The scholar Origen) “Indeed, what once had glory has lost its glory because of the greater glory” (10) The glory of the glorious law disappeared before the exalted greatness of the gospel, that presented the righteousness, holiness, goodness, and mercy; and proclaimed the greatness and riches of the exalted grace of God. The law of Moses was not greater in glory for the sake of the splendor on Moses’ face (Exodus 34: 29-35). That splendor benefited no one, and had no reward of glory; but was rather a hindrance, not through fault in him, but through that of the sinners4. (Ambrosiaster) 1 The Uncreated Glory, The Triads 3: 1: 9 , p 72. 2 CSEL 81: 216. 3 Commentary on Matthew, 10: 9. 4 CSEL 81: 216. 79 Paul did not belittle the value of the old Covenant, but he rather commended it in an exalted way, as the comparison is between two things basically alike1. (St. John Chrysostom) The light of the lamp shines with splendor in the darkness of the night; Whereas during the day, it could almost be indistinguishable2. (Theodoret, Bishop of Cyrus) “For if what is passing away was glorious, What remains is much more glorious” (11) Here, he presents to us a comparison between the law and the gospel: The former is temporary, and ends by the dwelling of the later; whereas the later surpasses the time, and brings us forth into eternity. The splendor of Moses’ face passed away with his death; whereas the splendor of the glory of Christ is divine, personal, and remains forever. According to Ambrosiaster: [Paul did not deny the shining in the law, nor the shining on Moses’ face (Exodus 29: 34- 35). Yet that shining did nor last, being a symbol and not the truth. The difference between Moses’ face and the glory of Christ, is like the difference between the image and the person whose image it is3]. 3- A MINISTRYWITHOUT VEIL: It is befitting of the ministers of the gospel not to put a veil on their faces the way Moses did, but to reveal the evangelic truth in the perfection of its splendor; as the evangelic ordinance is obvious to all with a spirit of simplicity; and not in symbols, nor in shadows, but in the divine light who came to the world to be seen by all. “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech” (12) 1 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 2. 2 PG 82: 395. 3 CSEL 81: 216. 80 The blessings of the gospel opened before us the door of hope, and presented to us a confirmation that the divine promises were realized, and we got to have them, as they are for everyone. God remains working, and will perpetually work to the account of all. Having the confidence and the confirmation in the clarity and the non-vagueness of the gospel, hiding nothing from the believer, it would be befitting of the ministers of the New Covenant to utter the evangelic truth in simplicity and clarity, for all to enjoy. The apostle Paul says that we have hope in the vision of the glory, not the kind on Moses’ face, but that which was seen by the three disciples of the Lord Christ on the mountain, when the Lord proclaimed Himself (Matthew 17: 1-2; Mark 9: 2-3). That is why it is befitting of us to respond to the love of God as much as we can, by being warm in our love for Him, who, purifies us from our sins, and grants us this confidence, which we are committed to increase; for what we shall ultimately see, will be proportional to what we believe in now1. (Ambrosiaster) We shall have the hope that the grace of the Spirit will not come to no avail, but will remain even after the resurrection2. (Severian. Bishop of Gebalah) “Not like Moses who put a veil over his face to keep the people of Israel from gazing at the end of the glory that was passing away” (13) The people of Israel, being not qualified to look at the splendor of Moses’ face, even though it was only a temporary and passing away Glory, was so allowed by God for them so as to seek what is greater, namely, the eternal glory that would never pass away. 1 CSEL 81: 217. 2 Pauline Comm. From the Greek Church. 81 Paul says that we do need to cover ourselves as Moses did (Exodus 34: 33); as we are able to behold the glory surrounding us, even though it is of more splendor than the first one1. (St. John Chrysostom) Why does he say that? Because he, who abides in the bare literal meaning, and preoccupies himself with keeping the law, his heart would be as though clothed by the Jewish letter like a veil; because of his ignorance that the carnal keeping of the law has come to no avail by the presence of Christ; on account of that the symbols turn into the facts of the future. He who has the power to look into the depths of the meanings of the law, then crosses over through the vagueness of the letter as though through a veil, in order to reach to the unutterable things, would be like Moses, taking away the veil when he talks to God, returning from the letter to the Spirit. The veil over Moses’ face would conform to the vagueness of the teachings of the law; And the spiritual meditation would conform to the return to the Lord. He would be more like Moses whose face is glorified by the proclamation of God. Like the things put close to bright colors, would themselves bear a touch of the splendor shining around them, So would be he, who concentrates his sight steadily on the Spirit; he would glorify the Lord, and would be transfigured to a greater exaltation, and his heart would be enlightened as though with light that pours from the truth of the Spirit. That is the transformation to the glory of the Spirit, not in a fading or a non-obvious degree, but, as we would expect for him who is enlightened by the Spirit2. (St. Basil the Great) The truth is that the Old Covenant of Mount Sinai that produced the children of bondage, now only aims to testify to the New Covenant; Otherwise, the words of the apostle Paul, saying: “But even to this day, when Moses is read a veil lies on their hearts” (15), would become untrue. But when man moves from 1In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 2. 2 On the Spirit 31 (52). 82 the Old Covenant to Christ, “the veil is lifted”. What truly happens is that those who cause a change by turning from the Old Covenant to the New One, start looking at the spiritual happiness more than to the earthly one1. Beyond doubt, there is a veil in the Old Testament, that is lifted up when man comes to Christ. During the crucifixion, “the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom” (Matthew 27: 51), to mean what the apostle says about the veil of the Old Testament which, in Christ, came to no avail2. It is not the Old Covenant that came to no avail in Christ; but the veil that covers what would be understood in Christ; namely, would become exposed and obvious; and without Christ it would be hidden and vague. The same apostle hastens to add: “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (15). He does not say: “the law or the old Testament is cancelled”, for it is not the case; But, by the grace of God, what was covered would be taken away because it is of no benefit; the cover that hides the beneficial truth is taken away. That is what happens to those who seek with longing and piety, and not with pride and evil, the meaning of the Holy Scripture. To them, the system of events, the cause of the words, the actions, and the conformity between the Old and the New Covenants, will all be obviously shown; and not a single point would remain without full conformity. Those secret facts have been reached through the symbols; when they are brought to light by interpreting the facts, those who tend to criticize are committed to learn3. (St. Augustine) Paul says that the law fades away, namely, it comes to an end in Christ, to whose coming the law prophesied4. 1 City of God 17: 7. 2 Letter to Honoratus, 140: 10. 3 The Usefulness of Belief 3: 9. 4 PG 82: 395. 83 (Theodoret. Bishop of Cyrus) “But their minds were hardened. Indeed to this very day, when they hear the reading of the Old Covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ it is set aside” (14) Having held fast to the letter and not to the Spirit, and having shut their eyes so as not to see the light of the gospel presented to them, their hearts were hardened and they became full of foolishness. It is as though the veil that covered the splendor of Moses’ face from them is still there, and became for them a veil of darkness and ignorance on their hearts, that keeps them from looking at the glory of the gospel that shines on them. What happened in Moses’ case, happens all the time in the case of the law. What is said is not an accusation against the law, and has no reflection on Moses who put on a veil, but it is an accusation against the narrowness of mind of those who care for the literality of the law. The law has its own glory that befits it; yet they were incapable of beholding it. We should then not marvel why the Jews did not believe in Christ; if they did not even believe in the law1? The veil is put over the hearts of the Jews … because of their heavy carnal mind… Do not you see that the veil was not over Moses’ face, but over the Jewish insight? This happened, not to hide Moses’ glory, but to keep them from seeing it, having not found a way to see it. The fault is in them, and it did not make anything unknown as far as Moses is concerned2. (St. John Chrysostom) When the (bride) turns on the pages of the prophets a page by page, Now, as the veil that used to cover those pages was taken away, she will recognize Christ, and will find Him come forth from those pages she reads, in a definite proclamation3. (The scholar Origen) 1 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 3. 2 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7, PG 61: 484. 3 The Song of Songs, Comm, Book 3: 11. (ACW). 84 “Until this day” does not mean just to the day of the apostle Paul, but even to our present day, and to the end of the world1. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem) “But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart” (15) The Jews used to cover their heads completely by a veil (Taliyt) from the Hebrew word (Taalal, meaning to cover), when the law is read. But that veil is no more valid, and is taken away; for by the fellowship with Christ the darkness is no more, and the Truth transfigures by a true spiritual thought. The presence of a veil is not because of Moses, but of their intensely carnal minds2. (St. John Chrysostom) The veil of the temple is torn, for what was hidden in Judah became exposed to all the Gentiles. The veil is torn and the secrets of the law are proclaimed to believers; But to nonbelievers, they remain hidden to this very day. When Moses – the Old Testament – is read in a loud voice by the Jews every Sabbath according to the testimony of the apostles, “the veil covers their hearts”. They read the law in which there is enough truth, yet they do not understand it, for their eyes stay on their darkness. They are actually like those about whom the Holy Book says: “Eyes they have, but they do not see; they have ears but they do not hear” (Psalm 115: 5, 6) 3. (St. Jerome) On account that the shadows bring fort the truth, even though not the complete truth; Moses, the divinely inspired, put a veil over his face to talk to the children of Israel. Yet by doing that he cries out saying that it is befitting of man to look at the beauty of the uttered words, not through the symbolic outer appearance, but through the hidden meditations in us (15-16). 1 Catechetical Lectures 15: 32. 2 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 3. 3 On Ps. 88 (89). 85 Let us then lift up the veil from over the law, and make Moses’ face free of all covers, to behold the truth bare1. (St. Cyril of Alexandria) As long as man does not listen to the spiritual meaning, a veil is over his heart, and because of this veil, which is the hardened understanding, it is said that the book itself is covered by a veil. This is the interpretation of the veil said to cover Moses’ face when he talked to the children of Israel, namely when the law was publicly read. But once we return to the Lord, where the word of God is, and where the Holy Spirit proclaims the spiritual knowledge, the veil is taken away, and we can behold the glory of the Lord in the Holy Books with an unveiled face2. The shining of the coming of Christ by lightening the law of Moses with the splendor of the truth, lifts up the veil that covers the letter of the law, and shuts it in; for all who believe in him, and hide these good things within himself3. (The scholar Origen) The scholar Origen believes that this veil that kept the Jews from recognizing our lord Jesus Christ, led them to kill Him and to oppose His church. Up till now, the Jews do not stand against the Gentiles who worship the idols, and who blaspheme against God; They do not hate them, nor have any grudge against them. They only have grudge against the Christians, and inflamed with limitless hatred against those who have forsaken the worship of idols, and turned to worship the true God4. Having no more altar, nor temple, or a priest, and have no more offering of sacrifices, they feel that their sin abides in them, and that they have no chance for forgiveness. If he who killed the Lord Jesus was a Jews, he still carries the 1 Letter, 41. 2 De. Principiis 1: 1: 2. 3 De. Principiis 1: 1: 3. 4 Hom. On Psalm 36: 1. 86 responsibility of that crime up to this very day; a fruit of his lack of understanding of what lie in the law and the prophets1. (The scholar Origen) The scholar Origen seeks from them to take the veil away, that they could turn their sight from the literal concept of the temple and the sacrifices to the heavenly concept. O Jews, When you come to Jerusalem and find it devastated, and turned into dust and ashes, do not cry like babes; do not grieve, but you should rather seek for yourselves a city in heaven instead of the one you are looking for here on earth. Lift your sight to find up there, the free Jerusalem, the mother of us all (Galatians 4: 26). Do not grieve for the absence of the temple here, nor despair for your lack of a priest; as in heaven you will find an altar and priests of the goodness to come, according to the order of Melchizedek in their procession before God (Hebrew 5: 10). The love and mercy of God intended to take away from you the earthly inheritance, to give you the chance to seek the heavenly one2. (The scholar Origen) If the people of God in the old Covenant were called “Israel”; a word, according to the scholar Origen, meaning (the mind that beholds God). a veil was put over their mind, they could not behold God, and lost that title, to be received by the church of the New Covenant “the New Israel” who turned to the lord, and enjoyed an exalted divine vision. This veil that deprived the Jews of the heavenly vision, and from the recognition of the secret of the cross, made the Jews stay at ‘Marah’ to keep on drinking the bitter water of the law; from which the Christian drink to find it sweet through the cross. The Jews still dwell at Marah, at the bitter waters, because God did not let them see the tree by which the water becomes sweet. But once the tree (the cross) of Jesus comes, and in me the 1 In jer. Hom 12: 13; J.W. Trigg: Origen, CSM, P. 185. 2 IN Jos. Hom. 17: 1. 87 teaching of my Savior dwells, the law of Moses will become sweet to him who reads and understands it1. (The scholar Origen) “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” (16) Here he talks about what happened with the prophet Moses (Exodus 34: 34); Yet he probably also refers to when the Jews will return to faith in Christ as a Lord and a Leader, who will take away from them the veil of ignorance, the blindness of the mind, and the hardness of the heart; when on them, the true light will shine, and they will clearly see the Truth. The apostle believes that the Jews as a congregation will receive faith in Christ, and, together with the Gentiles, will come to be one flock to the one Shepherd and the Bishop of the souls of all. We should supplicate to the lord Himself, to the Holy Spirit Himself, to lift up every cloud, and every darkness that makes the vision of our hearts vague by the stains of sins; to be able to have the amazing spiritual knowledge2. (The scholar Origen) The goal of the veil was not to hide Moses’ face, but to keep the Jews from seeing him; But once we turn to the lord, that veil will naturally be taken away. When Moses talked to the Jews his face was covered, but when he talked to God he removed the veil from over his face. So shall we, when we turn to the Lord, we shall be able to see the glory of the law and the receiver of the law, both uncovered. It is not only that, but we ourselves shall be in the likeness of Moses3. (St. John Chrysostom) Let us then beware, not only when we read Moses, but when we even read Paul, that we would have a veil over our hearts; in case we slothfully listen; or when we are not zealous to learn 1 In Exodus hom. 7: 3. 2 In Levit. Hom 1. 3 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 4. 88 and to understand, not only Moses and the prophets, but even the apostles and gospels. I fear that through slothfulness, and the hardness of heart, the divine books would not only be veiled for us, but would even be sealed; … I fear that when a book is put in the hand of someone, and is asked to read, he would say: “I can not read”; and if put in the hand of someone who can read, he would say “It is sealed”. That is why we are committed, not only to have the zeal to learn the holy literature, but to pray to the Lord, and supplicate to him day and night, that the Lamb of the tribe of Judah would come, and Himself would hold the sealed book and open it; As He is the one who opens the books, and inflames the hearts of His disciples, to say: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he opened the Scriptures to us?!” (Luke 24: 32). I wish He finds us now worthy to open for us what he has inspired to His apostle to say: “The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (17) 1. (The scholar Origen) Paul reveals that the Spirit and God are equal. Moses turned his eyes toward God (Exodus 34: 34); And we turn our eyes toward the Holy Spirit. It was difficult for Paul to say that what the Spirit proclaims is greater than what Moses saw, if the Spirit is just a creature and not God Himself2. (Theodoret, Bishop pf Cyrus) He who is blessed by the Spirit of the Lord will be liberated from the condemnation of the law; As the spiritual gifts give their power by the spirit. Moreover, the gift is given free to those who are ready to receive it3. (Severian. Bishop of gebalah) The Jews are like kids under the supervision of a teacher. The law is our teacher who brings us forth to the Lord; namely to Christ … The teacher we fear; while the Lord shows us the way 1 In Exod. Hom. 12. 2 PG 82: 398. 3 Pauline Comm. From the Greek Church. 89 of salvation. Fear brings us forth to liberty, liberty to faith, faith to love, love brings forth sonhood, and the sonhood brings forth inheritance. That is why, where there is faith, there is liberty; because the slave works by fear, while the free works by faith. The former by the letter, while the later is under grace. The former in bondage, and the later in the Spirit. And where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty1. (St. Ambrose) There is a benefit of taking away the veil off the bride’s face; As her eyes would become free, and would be able to look closely at her beloved. Taking away the veil also refers to the work of the Holy Spirit, according to the words of the apostle: “Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (16, 17) 2. It is not within the ability of man to acquire this gift on his own; yet the divine intention hides behind the body of the Holy Book, as though behind a veil. Because some statutes and historical events cover the facts meditated by the mind, the apostle tells us that those who look at the body of the Holy Book with a veil over their hearts, are not able to see the spiritual glory of the law, being hidden behind the veil put over the face of the giver of the law; That is why he says: “The letter kills, but the Spirit gives life”3. (St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa) “A veil lies on their heart” (15); that they are unable to realize that, “Old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (5: 17). Why are they are old things? Because they were known for a long time. And why are they now new? Because they concern the kingdom of heaven. The apostle tells us now, the way the veil is taken away: “When one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away” 1 Letters to Loymen, 69. 2 Commentary on Song of Songs, Homily 10. 3 Against Eunomius, 7: 1. 90 16). Therefore, the Jew who does not turn to the Lord, the eyes of his mind would not be able to look to the end. And as they were in the Old, even now at this age, the children of Israel still do not carry an insight to see to the end; namely to the face of Moses. As his shining face carries a symbol of the truth, and the veil obstructs the vision, the children of Israel, up to the present time are unable to recognize the glory of his features. Now the symbol is no more. Why? Because once the Original (the King) comes, the image is to no avail1. The Old Covenant of the Mountain of Sinai brings forth bondage, and is of no benefit, unless it carries a testimony for the New Covenant; as long as Moses is read, and the veil is still on their hearts; But once one turn to the lord Christ, the veil becomes of no avail2. The same apostle says that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in the Holy Book. They are not hidden to be rejected, but to increase the longing for them, because they are hidden. That is the benefit of secret things, which should be honored even if they are not understood; The more you honor them, the more the number of the veils hiding them. The more man is exalted, the more veils (or curtains) he hangs in his house; those veils give more honor to the things they hide as secret; And those who honor them will have the veils taken away; whereas those who scoff the veils, will lose, and will be forbidden from approaching them. That is why, “when one turns to the lord, the veil is taken away”3. (St. Augustine) “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17: 21) … Because of the repentance from the letter to the living Spirit; “When one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away”4. (The scholar Origen) 1 Sermons on New Testament Lessons, 24: 5. 2 The City of God, 17: 7. 3 Sermons for Christmas and Epiphany (ACW), 1: 5. 4 Commentary on Matthew, 10: 14. 91 “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (17) Here, he presents to us the blessing of the enjoyment of the Spirit, confirming that the believers in the New Covenant are happy because of three reasons: 1- The enjoyment of the light instead of the darkness. 2- The enjoyment of the inner liberty. 3- The renewal of our nature, to come to be the icon of Christ. Here he talks about the liberty; When the Holy Spirit works through the ordinance of salvation presented by the Lord Christ, the believer enjoys the liberty from the literality of the law, and the bondage of corruption; to find himself attached to God, and his will harmonized with that of God. The heart would be liberated from the bondage of selfishness; become wide with love toward all humanity; and would run along the road of the wide divine commandment. Some believe that the apostle here, means by the Spirit, the gospel that we enjoy by the Spirit, and not by the letter. When we enjoy the gospel of the lord, we gain the divine grace that liberates us, not only from the deadly Jewish letter, but from the sin, its authority, corruption, and death. It is befitting of us to know that taking away the veil is a kind of grace; As it is befitting of the eye to become free of any obstacle, to be able to behold the beauty of the Beloved1. (St. Gregory, the Bishop of Nyssa) He who seeks to reach the perfection of the evangelic teaching; he who lives under the grace, would not fall under the authority of sin. Because to stay under the grace means to work according to the things commanded by the grace; Whereas he who does not submit himself to the perfect requirements concerning the perfection of the gospel, should not be ignorant, that, although he is baptized, and even if he becomes a monk, yet he is not under the grace, but is still chained by the shackles of the law, and burdened by sin. Because he who grants the grace of . 1 من مجدٍ إلى مجدٍ، فصل 51 :3 92 adoption, and receives those who receive Him, intends to add to the building, and not to demolish it; He intends to consummate the law, and not to destroy it. Those who do not understand this thing, who disregard the magnificent counsels and sermons of the lord Christ, make the liberty a chance to slothfulness and irresponsible behavior; that they are unable to keep the commands of Christ, as though they are too difficult; and they, as well, despise the commandments of the Mosaic law1, on account of that they are ancient things; although the law presented them to the beginners and the kids. By that they call for the dangerous liberty cursed by the apostle, saying: “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not” (Romans 6: 15)…. Those are neither under grace, having never climbed the heights of the teachings of the Lord; nor under the law, having rejected even those simple commandments of the law. Those, fallen under the double authority of sin, assume that they have received the grace of Christ … and fall into what the apostle Peter warns us against, saying: “as free, yet not using your liberty as a cloak for vice” (1 Peter 2: 16); And about which the blessed apostle Paul says: “For you brethren, have been called to liberty, only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh” (Galatians 5: 13). Namely, you have been called to be free from the authority of sin; Yet putting the commands of the law aside, are not a permission to sin. The apostle Paul teaches us that this liberty would be only where the lord is; saying: “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (17) 2. (Father Theonas) “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” (18). Enjoying the divine light, and the true liberty, our nature is renewed and grows every day, to be conformed, and to become an icon of the Lord Christ, our Creator; and to raise from glory to 1 یقصد الوصایا ولیس الذبائح الیهودیة الرمزیة، لأن هذه لا یجوز العودة إلیها بعدما جاء الرمز (السید المسیح). 2 Cassian: Conferences, 21: 32. 93 glory. The believer thus tastes a daily experience and a practical knowledge through the power of the Word, perpetually renewing him. As the Jews were unable to look steadily at the face of Moses, the intercessor of the Old Covenant, he had to put a veil over his face. As far as we are concerned, we came to have the uncovered face to behold, as though in a mirror, how our nature conforms every day according to the glorious promises of the gospel of Christ, through the work of the Holy Spirit “The Lord is the Spirit”. It is not possible for the soul to unite with God, the uncorrupted by any way, unless it becomes almost pure through noncorruption, and set herself as a mirror reflecting the purity of God, that the beauty of the soul is conformed through a fellowship with the original beauty, and the enjoyment of its reflection on her1. As long as we can change, it is preferable then to change to the better: “from glory to glory”. This makes us perpetually progress toward perfection by daily growth, without setting for ourselves certain limits toward perfection; namely, without being satisfied with what is better2. Now we see the bride led by the Word to the highest levels of virtue; to that of perfection. At the beginning, the Word sends to her some rays of light through the windows of the prophets and the commandments; then He encourages her to come closer to the light, to become beautiful through being transformed to the image of a pigeon in the light. At that stage, the bride takes from goodness as much as she can afford; then the Word raises her up to share a higher beauty which she has never tasted before. And while she progresses, her desire grows with every step because there is no limit for the goodness before her; and, with the dwelling of the Groom with her, she 1 Concerning Virginity 11. PG 46: 368 BC. . 2 من مجدٍ إلى مجدٍ، تعریب القمص إشعیاء میخائیل، 1984 ، فصل 2 :1 94 continuously feels that she has just begun her ascent. That is why the Word says to the bride whom he waked up: “Get up”; then when she starts to head toward Him, he says: “Come”; on account that He, who called her to get up. Is capable of leading her up to go to higher and higher levels. Because he who runs toward God, will have a long way ahead of him; we have to persist on getting up, and not to cease getting closer to God; As with saying: “Get up”, and “Come”, the Groom gives the strength for ascension to what is better. That is why we are committed to understand what follows in the text; As when the Groom exhorts the bride to get more beautiful, He reminds us of the words of the apostle, demanding from us to walk virtuously in order to go from glory to glory (18). By the word “glory”, he means what we understood and the blessing we got at one time. It is not important how much glory, blessing, and height, we have; as he believes that we have got less than what we hope to get. Although she became as beautiful as the pigeon, yet the groom commands the bride to transform to a better level; And in that case, the text will show us something better than a “Pigeon” 1. (St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa) That does not refer to the things that will eventually come to an end, but to the things that will never end. The Spirit is God; and we are ascending to the level of the apostles; for we all shall see Him with unveiled faces. Being baptized, the soul glitters more than the sun. And being purified by the Spirit, we shall, not only behold the glory of God, but we shall receive from Him a kind of shine2. (St. John Chrysostom) Being transformed from the knowledge of the law to the grace of the Spirit, We should remember that we are moving from the glory of the Spirit working in us, to the glory of our inheritance as children. That is the work of the Spirit; as it is befitting of us 1 Commentary on Song of Songs, Homily 5. 2 In 2 Cor. Hom. 7: 5. 95 to understand the word “the Lord’ meaning “the Spirit, not the ‘Son of God’1. (Severian, Bishop of Gebalah) Although saying “as in a mirror” refers to that it is not essential; yet it is obvious that we, any way, seek to liken Him2. (St. (Mar) Isaac, the Syrian) It will be like this: The Old Testament openly proclaimed the Father, and the Son in a more vague way. The New Testament, on the other hand, proclaimed the Son, and inspired the Deity of the Holy Spirit. Now, the Spirit Himself dwells among us, and provides us with more clear proofs about Himself. It was not safe that, while the deity of the father was not yet known, to proclaim the Son in an obvious way. Nor, when we have not receive the deity of the Son, to endure the deity of the Holy Spirit … That is why, as I believe, the Spirit came gradually to dwell in his apostles, and to fill them according to their possibility of receiving Him: He started by the gospel; then the passion, then the ascension, then made their strength perfect by dwelling on them as fiery tongues. That was the way Jesus proclaimed Him gradually, as you may learn if you read the Scripture more attentively3. (St. Gregory, the Nezianzen) The Jews in their days could not look at Moses’ face, although he was their relative and fellow servant; Whereas you see the face of Christ in His glory, according to the words of the apostle, crying out: “We all behold the glory of the Lord with unveiled faces”. … The Jews, after Egypt came to the wilderness; Whereas you will eventually come to heaven. Moses was an excellent leader and commander; Whereas we, have another Moses, the Lord, who leads and commands us4. (St. John Chrysostom) 1 Pauline Comm. From the Greek Church. 2 Ascetical Hom. 2. 3 The Theological Orations 4: 26. 4 The Third Instruction 3: 25. 96 I do not believe that it would be something to fear or to make one sad in having a changeable nature. Yet, let us change for the better; let us have a kind of wings to fly up to better things; from glory to glory, to be greater through the daily growth, and the continuous seeking of perfection. The true perfection is not to stop at growing to what is better, and not to set limits for perfection1. (St. Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa) He does not just refer the Spirit to the Lord, but he added: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (17).So are we all, with an unveiled face, by the reflection of the glory of the lord, are conformed anew into that same image, from glory to glory, like the Lord, the Spirit; Meaning, we, who turn to the Lord, as though with a spiritual understanding, to behold the glory of the Lord, as in the mirror of the Holy Books; Now we change from that glory that turns us to the Lord, to the heavenly glory2. (St. Ambrose) The expression said by the apostle: “face to face”, does not commit us to believe that we shall see God with a carnal face; but we shall see him, unceasingly, in the Spirit. If the apostle did not refer to the face in the inner man, he would not say: “But we all with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (18). By faith we approach God; and faith is the work of the Spirit, and not of the body3. (St. Augustine) In this chapter we notice moved from defending his apostleship and the success of his ministry in Corinth and in other places, to show the greatness and the glory of the ministry of the New Covenant, for all the believers to enjoy: 1 On Perfection. 2 Of the Holy Spirit. 3 The City of God, 22: 30. 97 (1) The ministry of the Old Covenant is glorious, as it happened when Moses received the law on Mount Sinai; But as the people feared death, they demanded that God would not speak to them (Exodus 20: 19; Deuteronomy 18: 16); By that they received the spirit of bondage again to fear (Romans 8: 15); We, on the other hand received the spirit of power and of love (2 Timothy 1: 7), the spirit of adoption to God the Father (2 Corinthians 12: 18- 24). (2) Moses, whose face shined, was a minister of a law engraved on tablets of stone; While the apostles are ministers of the New Covenant, namely, the gospel of Christ, inscribed by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of flesh of the believers. (3) Moses presented the letter that kills; While the apostles presented the gospel by the Spirit who gives life. (4) Moses gained glory, and his face shined, yet for some time; Whereas the glory that we get from Christ is perpetually growing, by which we rise from glory to glory, until we reach the eternal glories. (5) The law was proclaimed through symbols and vague shadows; Whereas our gospel came clear and simple. (6) The Jews saw the passing away glory of Moses outside themselves; Whereas the Christians see the Person of Christ dwelling in them. Those saw it in the face of Moses; Whereas we see it inside us, as in a mirror that reflects the splendor of heavenly glory. 98 AN INSPIRATION FROM 2 CORINTHIANS 3 I READ YOUR WORK IN THE HEARTS OF YOUR PEOPLE I saw You, O My Savior in the hearts of Your people. I touched Your rich grace in their depths. As a Planter who cast the seeds of Your Word on their hearings. And You, the Grantor of life, present growth to them. Your gospel is very rejoicing. It inflames my heart with the fire of love for You and all humanity. You granted me to read Your work in the hearts of Your people. I read, not letters written with ink; Nor engraved on stone; But it is the language of Your fiery Holy Spirit; Who sets from the stones children for Abraham. You record a living gospel that sanctifies both the soul and the body. My heart exults, for You brought me forth into the era of grace. Your grace grants me an exalted sanctification. Your grace supports me not to break the letter. Fear no more kills me, for Your Spirit gives me life. When Moses received Your law. His face shined with an exalted heavenly splendor. And the Israelites put a veil on Moses’ face; For they could not look at Your shine on his face. Now, You have granted me Your grace; Transfiguring in my heart, as though on Mount Tabor; And filling my depths with exalted lights’ You have brought me into exalted glories You took away the veil to let me enter into Your sanctuaries. Where I encounter You, O Grantor of glory. I will always turn to You The veil will have no more place in me; 99 No power could hide the splendor of Your glory from my insight. No one can hide the divine truth from my depths. Your gospel became open before me. And the gates of heaven flow Your secrets on me With an unveiled face as in a mirror, I behold Your glory. You bring me forth from glory to glory. Until You bring me forth to the amazing day of Your ultimate coming. Glory be to You, O Grantor of glory to Your beloved.