Earlier this year I had a profound dream that affected me greatly. I was not “seeing myself” in the dream, but experiencing it directly:
The setting was a dimly lit room where two older men (in their 60s) were talking. One, whose face I saw clearly and close-up, was a Jewish rabbi, as he was wearing a tallit (prayer shawl). The other man was turned toward him, so I only saw a side view of his face, but I knew he was not Jewish. The rabbi was bald on top. The other man had thick white hair.
I’m not sure just what I was doing in the room, but I seemed to be busy stacking books or something. As they talked, I did not hear their conversation, until the man became overwhelmed with emotion at what the rabbi was saying. He seemed to be weeping and said to the rabbi, “You speak with such great wisdom,” and the idea was that he wished he could have such wisdom. He said, “Your wisdom comes from God.”
The rabbi did not comment. He seemed unsure of what to say. Then I walked up to where they were sitting and interrupted. I asked if I could say something, and then I immediately became embarrassed, because I knew it was improper for me, “a non-Jew and a woman” to speak. I apologized, but the rabbi said, “It's all right. Please say what you want.”
I addressed the other man: “The wisdom that he speaks is from God, but it has been passed down from generation to generation — from dynasty to dynasty” (meaning from father to son).
At this, the rabbi smiled at me and nodded his head “Yes.” It was then that I became aware that a faint yellowish light glowed on his face. It only stood out because the rest of the room was so dimly lit. His eyes were pleasant. I continued speaking to the other man: “But you can hear directly from God, and you can receive His wisdom from His Word.” Then I woke up.
As I thought on it, I recalled that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the words of God, his face shone so brightly with the glory of God that he had to put a veil over it. But over the generations of men's interpretations of the Law and their expanding ordinances, that glory has diminished to a faint yellowish glow. It is great wisdom compared to that of the world, but it isn't the pure, bright wisdom God originally gave to Moses.
In my dream I understood that I was very privileged to have the true wisdom of God which He has revealed in these last days through His Son: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son…”(Hebrews 1:1-2). Although Moses was the greatest prophet of the Old Testament, and delivered the oracles of God, having been with God face-to-face, he is not on the same page of human history as God's Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ!
Now for a real mind-blower: Ministers of the New Testament have a more glorious ministry than Moses!
“Who also has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter (ordinances contained in the law) kills, but the spirit gives life” (2Cor.3:6). This is one of my favorite verses which I often say before I get in the pulpit, as well is in my prayer time.
Now let me share something very special with you about the term “able”: In the Hebrew Bible used by Greek readers, the word is derived from one of God's OT names: El Shaddai, which means “the All-Sufficient One.” Some of us like to interpret it “the God who is more than enough!” In other words, God has made His NT ministers all-sufficient for the ministration of the Gospel, which surpasses the Law of Moses. We must not overlook that it is God who makes us able. As verse 5 before states, “our sufficiency is not of ourselves, but of God.” Whereas God is sufficient within Himself, we are not.
Paul continued in this chapter in his rabbinical question-and-answer style making these points which I have paraphrased:
The ministration of the old covenant engraved on stones, (even though it was a ministry leading to death for those who did not keep it), was so glorious that when Moses came down from the mountain, his face shone with such glory, the people could not look upon him. He had to put a veil over his face in order to talk to them! (Now I would like to have so much glory on me while I am preaching, that I have to put a handkerchief over my face!)
So if the ministration that resulted in condemnation had such glory, how much more glorious shall be the ministration of the Spirit? How much more should the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory? And if that which was done away with (the Law) was glorious, much more then shall that which remains (the Gospel) be glorious!
The glory of the new surpasses — excels that of the old!
So what kind of Minister was Moses? He was a miracle worker who outperformed the Egyptian magicians. He called fire down from heaven. He turned water into blood. He unleashed 10 extraordinary plagues on Pharoah’s kingdom, and then he parted the Red Sea! He prayed and manna fell from heaven and water came out of a rock. And that glory is inferior to the greater glory of NT ministers!
The New Testament Book of Acts chronicles the miracles of the greater glory and seals the proof of Jesus’ Messiahship: “A man approved by God among you by miracles, wonders, and signs” (Acts 2:22). And it establishes the proof of Jesus’ resurrection by eyewitnesses who performed those miracles in His Name (Acts 2:32). Without the resurrection, then Jesus is just another martyr.
But the risen Lord Jesus was made a surety (guarantee) of a better testament (Heb.7:22), having received a more excellent ministry, established on better promises (Heb.8:6).
So then we also have a ministry of liberty which increases in glory:
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face (without a veil), beholding as in a glass (mirror) the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by Spirit of the Lord” (2Cor. 3:17-18).
We are to grow and increase in glory — not diminish – not decrease! If the Gospel of Christ is “the power of God unto salvation”, which is greater than the ministry of the old covenant, shouldn’t there be evidence in our ministries? I believe there are two keys here that are essential to walking in this kind of glory.
First, in order to go from glory to glory, our walk must be from faith to faith (Rom. 1:17). Secondly, the progression of glory is contingent upon our continual looking into the mirror of God's Word with the intention of obeying it. Apostle James wrote in his epistle: “But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:25). The idea he presents in this chapter is of hearing and hearing and hearing the Word of God (Rom.10:17), and doing and doing and doing what it says. God's Word inspires us, and when we read of the great Acts of the Apostles, we realize that our chapter is being written today, and the Book of Acts is a book of Action!
We are accountable for this New Testament entrusted to us, especially the words of Jesus Christ, God’s Son. They form the mirror of the perfect law of liberty which surpassed the Law of Moses. With greater wisdom and glory comes greater expectation of fulfillment. We are able ministers commissioned by El Shaddai, the God of the old covenant. Our calling is greater, but so is the grace that enables us to fulfill it:
“And God is able to make all grace abound unto you; that you always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound unto every good work” (2Cor.9:8).
God is able to make us able; for the covenant of His Son demands a greater fulfillment of His greater glory.