And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand…
This was the transfiguration of Moses. Let us consider the narrative as a spiritual parable, and try to read in it some of the conditions and privileges of exalted communion with God. Communion with God is the highest prerogative of spiritual beings. It is the instinctive craving of human souls; it is the supreme privilege and joy of the religious life; it is the inspiration and strength of all great service. God redeems us and saves us by drawing us to Himself. By mysterious voices He solicits us; by irrepressible instincts He impels us; by subtle affinities He holds us; by ineffable satisfactions He makes us feel His nearness and fills us with rest and joy.
I. WE ARE ADMITTED TO FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD ONLY THROUGH PROPITIATORY SACRIFICE. Moses builds an altar under the hill, offers sacrifices upon it, and sprinkles the blood thereof before he ascends the holy mount to commune with God. We must seek fellowship with God through the one propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Not only is the sacrifice of Christ the medium through which the forgiving love of God becomes possible; it is the supreme expression of it.
II. WE ARE QUALIFIED FOR OUR HIGHEST INTERCOURSE WITH GOD BY THE SPIRITUAL GRACE OF OUR OWN SOULS; Moses was qualified for this revelation of the supreme glory of God by his peculiar magnanimity and self-sacrifice. When God admits us to intercourse with Himself, what we see will depend upon our capability of seeing. Only the pure in heart can see God.
III. WE ARE ADMITTED TO VISIONS OF THE HIGHER GLORY OF GOD ONLY WHEN WE SEEK THEM FOR THE USES OF PRACTICAL RELIGIOUS DUTY. If selfishness be a disqualification, so is mere sentiment. A man who seeks God for his own religious gratification merely may see God, but he will not see God's supreme glory. Our chief reason for desiring to know God must be that we may glorify Him in serving others.
IV. THE MOST SPIRITUAL VISIONS OF GOD, THE CLOSEST COMMUNION WITH GOD, ARE TO BE REALIZED ONLY WHEN WE SEEK HIM ALONE. In our greatest emotions we seek solitude instinctively. Human presence is intolerable to the intensest moods of the soul. No man can be eminent either in holiness or service who does not often ascend to the mountain-top, that he may be alone with God and behold His glory.
V. THE SUPREME REVELATION OF GOD TO WHICH WE ATTAIN THROUGH SUCH FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM IS THE REVELATION OF HIS GRACE AND LOVE. When a man sees this, the glory of God has passed before him.
VI. THE REVELATION OF GOD'S GLORIOUS GOODNESS TRANSFIGURES THE MAN WHO BEHOLDS IT.
(H. Allon, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
WEB: It happened, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mountain, that Moses didn't know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him.