867. Glass

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Critics differ as to the meaning of the word rendered “glass” in this verse. Many suppose it means a metallic mirror, as it evidently does in James 1:2323For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: (James 1:23). (For an account of ancient mirrors, see note on Exodus 38:88And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Exodus 38:8), #139.) Such a mirror, covered with a thin veil, as was often done to protect from dust and dampness, would present a dim, shadowy reflection, causing the beholder to see “darkly,” or more literally, enigmatically. Others think that the “glass” in this text was the lapis specularis, a kind of talc of which the ancients sometimes made their Windows. Through this the indistinct outlines of an object could be seen, but the beholder was left to guess what the object might be. He was looking at an enigma; he saw “darkly.”
We have thus a beautiful illustration of the difference in clearness of vision between the present life and the future. The veil will be taken from the mirror, so that the reflection will be clear; or, the semi-transparent window will be removed, so that nothing shall obstruct the sight.