A Veil Over Faces, Hearts & Minds
Why do people use veils?
In different cultures veils fulfil numerous religious, social and cultural significance and are still very important in many parts of the world.
Women and the veil
Subjugation, honour, dis-honour, respect and decorum are some of the reasons that women wear the veil. Sometime women don’t have a choice, this is particularly in strict Islamic countries.
Moslem women with veils
Marwari Bheel women in India and Pakistan
Jewish bride wearing a partial veil covering her hair on her wedding day
Some religious reasons for wearing veils
It does appear that the Koran does not stipulates that the veil must be warn by women, but it is imposed upon them by the men within their culture. One of the reasons given is to prevent men for lusting after a women. Notwithstanding, this has become a means of abuse and subjugation of women. When the Taliban took control of Afghanistan recently, the wearing of the veil by all women outside of their homes once again became mandatory.
Within Judaism, religious Orthodox Jewish women are required to cover their heads––this is due to the fact that a married women’s hair is considered her ‘crown of glory,’ that only her husband should see. Young girls and single women are not required to cover their heads.
The Marwari Bheel women also veil themselves before strangers and when outdoor as a sign of decorum––they are mostly found among the low cast Hindus and Moslem women.
Men and veils
Why do men wear veils? This appears in the Biblical narrative and this tradition began with Moses when he had been in the presence of God:
Why did Moses have to wear a veil?
...Gave the Torah to Israel, He did so accompanied by an overwhelming atmospheric display of thunder and lightning, smoke and fire, and the sound of a trumpet on the top of Mt. Sinai. This was to warn the people that He is holy and should not be approached. Anyone who tried to come up the mountain would be killed. (See Exodus 19 and Hebrews 12:18–19.)
When God delivers the Ten Commandments, the people are so frightened that they are afraid to have God speak. They ask that Moses deliver the Torah instead (Exodus 20:18–21). So Moses approaches God and receives the Torah in Exodus 21–23. He delivers it to the people who are called to affirm their willingness to obey in chapter 24.
After the sin of the Golden Calf had been dealt with, God invites Moses to come back up the mountain to receive the Torah again, engraved on new tablets of stone. Moses goes up the mountain alone and meets with God. There he begs for pardon for the nation. God forgives and renews the covenant with Israel and once again provides a summary form of the Torah, the Ten Commandments (see Exodus 34:1–27). Moses spends 40 days and nights with God on the mountain, and during that time he did not eat or drink (verse 28). It seems that the glory of God sustained him.
After spending this extended amount of time with God, Moses comes down the mountain, and his face is shining with the glory of God (Exodus 34:29). We don’t know exactly what this would have looked like, but it was frightening to his brother, Aaron, the high priest; and to all the rest of the people. Because everyone was afraid to come near Moses (verse 31), he wore a veil over his face to shroud the glory (verses 33–35).
The story of Moses’ veil as recorded in the Tenach (OT) is pretty clear. But Paul’s mention of the veil in the New Testament has caused some to take a second look at the reason Moses chose to wear a veil. Second Corinthians 3:13 says, “We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away.” This makes it sound as if Moses put the veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing that the glory was beginning to fade. When 2 Corinthians 3:13 is read in the context of Paul’s argument, we find that it says nothing about Moses’ motive for veiling his face.
In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul is contrasting the glories of the First and Renewed Covenants, and he concludes that the Second/Renewed Covenant reveals a more glorious future for the People of God.
• The First Covenant was written on tablets of stone; the Renewed Covenant is written on the heart (verse 3).
God goes to a deeper level with his revelation to all his people of the Renewed Covenant!
• The First Covenant has a glory that is renewed and the glory grows brighter shining in the face of Yeshua HaMashiach! (verses 10–11).
We as ministers of the Renewed Covenant –– like Moses, we become ministers proclaiming the unfading glory in a bold manner.
Why did Moses wear a veil?
The main focus is that of the First Covenant is renewed by the unfolding revelation of God––While the shining of Moses’ face did fade, when the individual turns to God through Yeshua the Messiah––just as on the Mount of Transfiguration so too the believer goes from one degree of glory to another!
The “veil” prevents anyone who does not yet have faith from seeing the true glory of God. The veil is only taken away when they turn to Messiah! (2 Corinthians 3:14–16).
The veil in Jewish and Christian understanding
Alas this aspect of the veil over hearts and minds is not desirable and perpetuates old hatreds and animosities –– Jewish spiritual blindness and Christian blindness more full explored…
Removing the veil –
How do we assist in removing the veil?..
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