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II Corinthians 3:7 - Stones & Administration

Law of Moses, Law of God, God's Law, Paul, New Covenant, Old Covenant, Jesus, New Testament, Old Testament, Mt. Sinai, tablets of stone, ark of the covenant, arc of the covenant

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Some may see, "written and engraved in stones" in II Corinthians 3:7 and think this refers to the Sinai Covenant. Although this seems to be referring to the tablets of the covenant that Moses received in Exodus 34 that is not likely the case. There is another set of stones mentioned in Deuteronomy and Joshua on which law was written besides the stones on which the Ten Commandments were written.

It should be noted that a number of the earlier Greek manuscripts contain a variation from the standard King James Greek text. Instead of engraving in stones they indicate the text was engraved on the stones. This includes five of eight early texts that the Englishman's Greek New Testament considers significant plus the Sinaiticus text. To think that Paul is specifically referring to writing etched in stone with the Creator’s finger as opposed to writing in plaster is rather tenuous to begin with. The stones which recorded the administration of Moses inherited by Levi were etched into plaster. However, since the thought of engraving in stone is actually missing from most early texts, assuming that it could only apply to the tables of His covenant is significantly undermined.

It should also be noted that 'was glorious' also leaves out a significant thought in what Paul said. Alternative translations are, "was produced with glory" (Englishman's Greek New Testament) and "was brought into existence with glory" (Emphasized Bible). The word 'was' in the NKJV is actually 'gennaw' which means 'to engender'. So the service of Moses was brought into existence with glory as evidenced by the brightness of his face. The law was not engendered or made glorious by the brightness of Moses face. God made perfectly evident who He would use to administer the covenant by the shining of Moses face.

In any case Paul is saying that even Moses function written on stones was instituted with glory. However, Moses function was not written on the tablets of the covenant (Ex 34:28, Deu. 5:22). Only the words God spoke from Sinai were written on them. The context is talking of Moses function.

The context is also contrasting the Old Covenant with the New Covenant (vs 6, 14). It does not really mention the covenant made at Sinai. However, Moses was especially the chief administrator of the Sinai covenant. So the concept seems to apply. However, Paul is not necessarily limiting himself to that function during Moses lifetime. He is talking of the institution or beginnings of Moses office. He indicates through the rest of the chapter that Moses office continued until Jesus/Yeshua, Messiah, replaced it. That office was of course 'Moses seat' that was occupied by the priesthood of Aaron and those who inherited that office.

Moses directed Israel write this law of Deuteronomy on this other set of stones. This is recorded in Deuteronomy 27:2-8 (see also Josh 8:30-32). As such these stones would have had the administration of Levi included in their text (Deu. 17:9). The priests especially, but also Levi in general, inherited the ‘seat of Moses’ once the Moab covenant was confirmed. The Levites served as judges with the High Priest being chief. This text written on these stones was from the covenant of Moab. Of course, that is now the Old Covenant. There is no connection between these stones and the Sinai Covenant or Law of God.

The stones on which Moses function was recorded were the stones on which the Law of Moses was written mentioned in Deuteronomy 27, not the tablets that were kept in the Ark of the Covenant. In any case, it is Moses function that has been replaced by the administration of Messiah. It is not talking of a replacement of the Law.