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2 Corinthians 3:7-8

A Better Covenant

7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: 8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?


In the previous verse, Paul had referred to the Mosaic Law as "the letter," saying that the letter kills, and to the new covenant as being of the Spirit, saying that the Spirit gives life.

"But if the ministration of death..." By "death," he means the Mosaic Law, the letter of that law. And, "ministration" comes from the Greek διακονία diakonia (dee-ak-on-ee'-ah), the word from which we get the English word "deacon." It often means, "service, minister, attendance to a duty, or office." In this case, it seems to represent all of the ministerial offices under the old covenant.

"...written and engraven in stones, was glorious,.." The Law was written on stone tablets by God and delivered to Israel by Moses. The offices of the priests and Levites who attended to the Law were glorious positions, which placed those ministers in a close relationship to God whose shekinah glory dwelt in the very tabernacle where they served. They were ordained and anointed to serve in their positions by performing a ritual cleansing, by donning special garments and with a great deal of ceremonial grandeur.

"...so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance;" After God had written the Ten Commandments on the tablets of stone, Moses returned from the top of Sinai, "And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him... And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face." (Exodus 34:30, 33) So important, so glorious was the service of Moses and the other servants of Jehovah, that Moses' face shined so brightly after being in the presence of God and receiving the law, that no one could look at him.

"...which glory was to be done away:" As wonderful as the law was and as wonderful as it was to be one of those who administered it, it could not save God's people. The law could not bring men into a right relationship with God. Instead, it condemned them. Eventually it would have to be done away, and replaced with a new covenant, one that could save.

"How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?" How much more glorious is it to serve in ministering the new covenant, which is written on the hearts of men by the Spirit of God? If the ministration of the law only led to death and was temporary, how much more glorious is it to be enabled by God to offer life to all men?

The Law of Moses is not the only religious system that leads to death. It was not an evil law, but a holy one given by God for mankind's benefit. It is man who is evil. However, there are literally hundreds of false religions and philosophies that are intended for evil and that will result in certain judgment and condemnation. Do not be deceived. Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only source of eternal life.

Before The Throne:

Praise God today for making life available to you through Jesus Christ. Thank Him for setting you free from the condemnation of sin. Ask Him to make you a part of the glorious administration of the gospel.

For Further Study:

(v.7)
** the ministration. Rom 7:10; ** written. Exod 24:12; Exod 31:18; Exod 32:15-16, 19; Exod 34:1, 28; Deut 4:13; Deut 5:22; Deut 9:9-11, 15; Deut 10:1-4; Heb 9:4; ** was. Deut 4:8; Neh 9:13; Ps 19:7-8; Ps 119:97, 127-128, 174; Rom 7:12-14; Rom 7:22; Ge 3:21; ** that. Exod 34:29-35; Luke 9:29-31; Acts 6:15; ** which. 2Cor 3:10-11, 14; Rom 10:4; 1Cor 13:10;

(v.8 ) ** the ministration. 2Cor 3:17; 2Cor 11:4; Isa 11:2; Isa 44:3; Isa 59:21; Joel 2:28-29; John 1:17; John 7:39; Acts 2:17-18, 32, 33; Rom 8:9-16; 1Cor 3:16; 1Cor 12:4-11; Gal 3:2-5; Gal 3:14; Gal 5:5, 22-23; Eph 2:18; 2Thess 2:13; 1Pet 1:2; Jude 1:19-20;

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