Life-Study of 2 Corinthiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The shining of the glory of the new covenant is actually the living of Christ. This means that to live Christ is to shine forth the new covenant glory.
In 3:7 and 8 Paul says, “Now if the ministry of death, in letters engraved in stone, came in glory, so that the sons of Israel were not able to gaze at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, which was being done away, how shall not rather the ministry of the Spirit be in glory?” Paul says that the ministry of death, that is, the ministry of the old covenant, came in glory. He does not say that the old covenant ministry had glory.
The proper translation of verse 9 should be this: “For if the ministry of condemnation came in glory, much rather the ministry of righteousness abounds in glory.” The ministry of death came in glory but it did not have glory. We may use the matter of riding in a car as an illustration. Although you may not have a car, you may come to the meeting in a car belonging to someone else. The fact that you came in a car does not mean that the car belongs to you. Hence, to have a car is one thing, and to come in a car is another thing. In the same principle, having glory is very different from coming in glory.
Furthermore, in verse 9 Paul says that the ministry of righteousness abounds in glory. There is a great difference between the two predicates came and abounds. Once again using the illustration of riding in a car, we may say that one person comes in a car, whereas another may own several cars, that is, he abounds with cars. The old covenant came in glory, but the new covenant ministry has glory and abounds in it.
What was the glory with which the old covenant came? Paul speaks of this glory in 3:7, where he says that the sons of Israel were not able to gaze at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, a glory which was being done away. That glory was the light which was shining temporarily on the face of Moses. The glory in which the old covenant came was a temporary glory. It perhaps did not last even a day. The shining on Moses’ face lasted for only a short time.
What, then, is the glory of the new covenant? What is the glory which the new covenant has and with which it abounds? Basically, in the Bible glory signifies the expression of God. Whenever God is expressed, that is glory. The expression of God is God glorified. Therefore, to say that God is glorified simply means that He is expressed.
When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He was God incarnate. He did not come as God expressed; He came as God concealed. God was concealed within the physical body of the Lord Jesus. Inwardly there was God; outwardly there was the flesh. With this flesh there was no glory. According to John 17, when the Lord Jesus was about to die, He prayed, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You” (v. 1). In John 17:5 the Lord went on to say, “And now, glorify Me with Yourself, Father, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” In His prayer the Lord seemed to be saying, “Father, now is the time for You to glorify Your Son. Father, let Your Son glorify You. The disciples have not yet fully seen what Your Son is and what You are in Me. Father, You are concealed, and I am hidden. For this reason I pray that You will glorify Your Son so that Your Son may glorify You.”
We may use the blossoming of a carnation flower as an illustration of what it means for the Lord Jesus to be glorified. A carnation seed does not have any glory. After a carnation seed is sown into the earth, the seed dies and then it begins to grow up. It sprouts, it grows into a plant, and eventually it blossoms. This blossoming is the glorification of the carnation seed. Because a carnation seed dies when it is sown into the soil, we may say that its blossoming is its resurrection. Glorification, therefore, is equal to resurrection. The sprouting of the carnation seed is the beginning, the initial, stage of resurrection. The further growth of the carnation plant is the continuation of the process of resurrection. But the blossoming of the carnation flower is resurrection in its fullness.
When the Lord Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify Him, He actually prayed that He would enter into glory through death and resurrection. In Luke 24:26 the Lord Jesus asked the two disciples on the way to Emmaus: “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?” When the Lord Jesus spoke these words, He was already in resurrection. Thus, for Him to enter into His glory was for Him to be in resurrection. This verse reveals clearly that Christ’s glorification was His resurrection. The Lord’s resurrection was His blossoming. Christ’s blossoming, His glorification, refers to His resurrection in its fullness.
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