TELOS in 2Cor 3:13

From: Randy LEEDY (
Date: Thu Sep 17 1998 - 09:18:06 EDT

I've been away from the list for several months. In looking over recent threads in the archives it was nice to see some interesting activity and pretty much the same list of participants as before. I didn't see anything recent from Edward Hobbs, though; I hope he is doing well.

I have been puzzling over this verse, particularly the meaning of TELOS. Most of the commentators and translations take it in the sense of cessation, but I can't see how that fits the broader context, however well it may fit with the immediately following TOU KATARGOUMENOU. Of course, TELOS can also mean "goal," but that's not entirely satisfying here, either. (Barnett's new NIC volume on 2Cor seems to prefer this meaning; I think maybe Kistemaker does also, but my own memory is KATARGOUMENH on that point just now.) The meaning that I am sensing is something like "full effect" or "outcome." Moses converse with God regarding the OT Law, temporary as that Law was, left him in a somewhat glorified state. It was that outcome or effect that the Israelites could not bear to look upon, so that Moses veiled himself. Paul's ministry of the New Covenant, by contrast, brings about an unveiled glory as believers, through their unmediated contact with God in Christ, partake of Christ's glory. But the unbelieving Jews of
Paul's day continued to insist on the veil in the sense that they refused to look intently and with understanding upon the outcome of the Law manifested in the passion, resurrection, and glorification of Jesus.

So rather than saying that the veil prevented the Israelites from looking intently upon the END of what was passing away, I find myself wanting to understand the verse as saying that it kept them from observing the effect or the outcome of the Law manifested in Moses face, which Law would pass away when that outcome came to full realization in Christ. This understanding fits the context very well, as far as I can see, but is it possible for TELOS to bear this meaning? BAGD doesn't seem to admit such a sense, but my old edition of L & S defines the word as meaning an "end or issue, not a cessation," and give a Latin gloss "effectus" (does that mean "effect"?). Am I safe in seeing this meaning in the NT, or has the meaning shifted so that in Koine it no longer means this? Is there any other word Paul could have used to more clearly convey the idea of outcome or effect?

Thanks in advance for any insight that may be forthcoming.

In love to God and neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

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