2

Reading through

2 Corinthians 3:14-17 English Standard Version (ESV) 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one[a] turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord[b] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

To whom does the Lord refer to in 2 Corinthians 3:17 ?

Reading in context I feel it is saying.

  1. The veil is taken away in Christ ( Jesus Christ of Nazareth )
  2. The veil is taken away when one turns to the Lord ( Jesus Christ of Nazareth )
  3. Now ( after Jesus Christ of Nazareth ascended ) the Lord ( Jesus Christ of Nazareth ) is the Spirit ( Holy Spirit )

Is the Lord in verse 17 referring to Jesus Christ of Nazareth or is the word Lord just referring to some one who rules over a group of people ?

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The "Lord" here is referring to Jehovah God, The God of Moses:-

NWT 2 Corinthians 3:14-17 "But their minds were dulled. For to this present day, the same veil remains unlifted when the old covenant is read, because it is taken away only by means of Christ. 15 In fact, to this day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies upon their hearts. 16 But when one turns to Jehovah, the veil is taken away. 17 Now Jehovah is the Spirit, and where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom.

It is referring back to an event in Moses life at:-

NWT Exodus 34:31-35 "But Moses called to them, so Aaron and all the chieftains of the assembly came to him, and Moses spoke with them. 32 After that all the Israelites came near to him, and he gave them all the commands that Jehovah had given him on Mount Siʹnai. 33 When Moses would finish speaking with them, he would put a veil over his face. 34 But when Moses would go in before Jehovah to speak with him, he would take off the veil until he went out. Then he went out and revealed to the Israelites the commands he had received. 35 And the Israelites saw that the skin of Moses’ face emitted rays; then Moses put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with God."

The people then could not cope with what Moses represented or his massage thus he veiled himself as they were not spiritual people,

Today most cannot cope with The Bible's massage but for the same reason, lack of spirituality, thus they are likened to being veiled.

Your points ajusted:-

1 The veil is taken away when Christ's massage of the God Kingdom is taken to heart! ( Jesus Christ of Nazareth )

2 The veil is taken away when one turns to the wroship of Jehovah as Jesus Christ taught!

3 Now ( after Jesus Christ of Nazareth ascended ) to Jehovah and offered his Blood Sacrifice which was excepted; he then poured out holy spirit form Pentecost onward; this gave repentant Jews (and later Gentiles) freedom for The Old Law Code (Gentiles freedom from pagan worship) and they entered into the New Covenant which gave them also freedom form being slaves to Sin and Death thus they could now Worship Jehovah is an acceptably way because of faith in Jesus' Sacrificial Blood offering to Jehovah God:-

NWT Leviticus 17:11 "For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I myself have given it on the altar for you to make atonement for yourselves, because it is the blood that makes atonement by means of the life in it."

This was fulfilled in Jesus:-

NWT Hebrews 13:20, 21 "Now may the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, with the blood of an everlasting covenant, 21 equip you with every good thing to do his will, working in us through Jesus Christ what is well-pleasing in his sight, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen."

NWT Hebrews 9:22 "Yes, according to the Law nearly all things are cleansed with blood, and unless blood is poured out no forgiveness takes place."

  • This is a great answer! Thank you :-) Very helpful. – Siju George Mar 19 '19 at 4:14
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    Moses put a veil on after he finished speaking to the people. Paul's "removal of the veil" is speaking about himself and those who do not need to cover themselves after they have preached the Good News. (3:12) In the example, their boldness is not in receiving or believing, or speaking the message; it is living free after they speak the message. In the OT it is one who already is the believer (Moses) who puts on the veil. In the NT it is believer who does not put on the veil (3:18). – Revelation Lad Mar 19 '19 at 16:26
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    @Revelation The context show my comment right. 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4 "If, in fact, the good news we declare is veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, 4 among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through." But when a person turns to Jehovah a change takes place: 2 Corinthians 3:16 "But when one turns to Jehovah, the veil is taken away." – user26950 Mar 20 '19 at 8:29
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"A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Psalm 110:1

I would suggest that 2 Corinthians 3:17 is referring to Jesus and David both as Lords. The Jews were confounded by this verse as they did not accept Jesus as Lord.

Whose Son is the Christ? "35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts, He asked, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36Speaking by the Holy Spirit, David himself declared: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand until I put Your enemies under Your feet.”’ 37David himself calls Him Lord. So how can He be David’s son?” And the large crowd listened to Him with delight."…Berean Study Bible https://biblehub.com/mark/12-36.htm

1

Jesus Christ is Lord
In each instance the word translated "Lord" is κυρίου:

14 But their minds were hardened, for until this very day the same veil remains on the reading of the old covenant— it not being unveiled because it passes-away in Christ. 15 Indeed, until today whenever Moses is being read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 But whenever it 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 freedom! (2 Corinthains 3 DLNT)

14 ἀλλὰ ἐπωρώθη τὰ νοήματα αὐτῶν. ἄχρι γὰρ τῆς σήμερον ἡμέρας τὸ αὐτὸ κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τῇ ἀναγνώσει τῆς παλαιᾶς διαθήκης μένει μὴ ἀνακαλυπτόμενον, ὅτι ἐν Χριστῷ καταργεῖται 15 ἀλλ' ἕως σήμερον ἡνίκα ἂν ἀναγινώσκηται Μωϋσῆς κάλυμμα ἐπὶ τὴν καρδίαν αὐτῶν κεῖται 16 ἡνίκα δὲ ἐὰν ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς κύριον, περιαιρεῖται τὸ κάλυμμα 17 ὁ δὲ κύριος τὸ πνεῦμά ἐστιν: οὗ δὲ τὸ πνεῦμα κυρίου, ἐλευθερία (NA26)

On κυρίου Thayer's says: "ὁ (properly, an adjective κύριος, κυρία, κύριον, also of two term.; properly equivalent to ὁ ἔχων κῦρος, having power or authority) (from Pindar down), he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has the power of deciding; master, lord."

Paul earlier affirmed, for him and other Christians, there is one Lord:

yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
(1 Corinthians 8:6 ESV)

Moses' Veil
The veil Paul refers to is drawn from Moses covering his face as recorded in Exodus:

29 When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, with the two tablets of the testimony in his hand as he came down from the mountain, Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God.[d] 30 Aaron and all the people of Israel saw Moses, and behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 But Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the leaders of the congregation returned to him, and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the people of Israel came near, and he commanded them all that the LORD had spoken with him in Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.
[d.] Exodus 34:29 Hebrew him

34 Whenever Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he would remove the veil, until he came out. And when he came out and told the people of Israel what he was commanded, 35 the people of Israel would see the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses' face was shining. And Moses would put the veil over his face again, until he went in to speak with him. (Exodus 34 ESV)

Paul applies the veil in two ways:

  • Unveiled: Moses face when speaking
  • Veiled: The Israelites heart after hearing

The first is taken from Exodus: whenever Moses is speaking his face is unveiled. Paul's second application is a midrash: he puts the veil not on Moses, but on the Israelites who cover their heart.

The Believer's Unveiled Face
Paul begins by comparing the Christian to Moses:

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face...(2 Corinthians 3:12-13 ESV)

Unlike Moses who put on the veil after speaking to the Israelites, Paul says the Christian does not need to cover their face. This follows what Paul will later say to the church in Rome:

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 ESV)

Paul says the Christian never puts on a veil:

Now the Lord [d] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord,[e] (2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV)
[d.] 2 Corinthians 3:17 Or this Lord [e.] 2 Corinthians 3:18 Or reflecting the glory of the Lord

Having the Spirit of the Lord is freedom. He does not need to ever cover his face before or after speaking about Jesus Christ. In fact, no Christian need be ashamed or afraid because the Gospel is the glory of Christ:

In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(2 Corinthians 4:4 ESV)

The Israelites Veil
The Disciples Literal New Testament offers this translation for verse 16:

But whenever it turns to the Lord, the veil is taken-away.

ἡνίκα δὲ ἐὰν ἐπιστρέψῃ πρὸς κύριον, περιαιρεῖται τὸ κάλυμμα

A literal reading would be "whenever however if shall have turned to Lord, is taken away the veil." As some commentators such as Ellicott note, Paul is saying if Israel turns to the Lord (literally "Lord"). Here the reference is to Exodus 34:31 in the LXX:

And Moyses called them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation turned to him, and Moyses spoke to them. (LXX NETS)

καὶ ἐκάλεσεν αὐτοὺς Μωυσῆς καὶ ἐπεστράφησαν πρὸς αὐτὸν Ααρων καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄρχοντες τῆς συναγωγῆς καὶ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῗς Μωυσῆς

Paul's point is if the Jewish people turn back to the gospel of the glory of Christ, the veil is taken away. He is pointing to Aaron and the rulers who turned back, saw Moses unveiled face reflecting the glory of the LORD, and listened to what he said. If they do not turn back, they keep the veil on their hearts where, according to Paul, it has been ever since Moses spoke to them.

Obviously Paul's statements about the Israelites in general have specific application at the individual level, whether Jewish or Gentile, but the passage addresses the general, not the specific.

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