Contemplating the New Covenant Glory

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV

Contemplating the glory of the Lord is experiencing the glory of the Lord. This verse tells us we can experience His glory. The Greek word katoptrizomai is translated “contemplate” or “behold as in a mirror”, which conveys the idea of a prolonged focus on something, as illustrated when we use a mirror. After providing a little background about the glory of the Lord, this teaching explains how we can contemplate the glory of the Lord and how it transforms us.

The Glory of the Lord in Scripture

The study the glory of the Lord in scripture is fascinating. Moses’ face glowed with the glory of the Lord. The Israelites saw the glory of the Lord in the desert. Moses could not enter the tabernacle because it was full of the glory of the Lord. Ezekiel and Isaiah saw the glory of the Lord in the temple. The glory of the Lord filled the temple at Solomon’s dedication. Peter and John witnessed the glory on Jesus during His transfiguration. The shepherds saw the glory of the Lord at night when the angel announced the birth of Jesus. Scripture says that Jesus revealed His glory in His first miracle at the wedding feast.

Experiencing the Glory of the Lord

Notes and commentaries tend to teach that the Word of God is what 2 Corinthians 3:18 is talking about. This is true in a sense because of the previous reference in the same chapter to the reading of the old covenant. However, this verse specifically identifies the glory as an experience. It also identifies the source of that experience, “…which is the Spirit”, or as some translations put it, “…which is of the Spirit.” This verse is talking about an encounter with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person with whom we can have a relationship. Contemplating the Lord’s glory is an encounter we can experience that can be initiated by us or the Holy Spirit. When we communicate specifically with the Holy Spirit and invite His presence, He often manifests Himself through His tangible presence. During this time, we remain in His presence in silence, just being with Him, and experience that glory. This is contemplating the glory of the Lord.

Glory Within and Glory Upon

In Romans 6:4, we read that Jesus was raised from the dead through the glory of the Lord. Soon after in Romans 8:11 we read that the Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead lives in us. Therefore, the glory of the Lord lives in every believer. If you are born again, the glory of the Lord lives in you! While God is always present in us and everywhere, there are different levels of His presence. Sometimes He manifests His glory and we sense it in our spirit, our mind, and sometimes even in our body. A few Christians during their prayer time, and churches occasionally in their services, experience the glory of the Lord.

Those who have the Spirit within them can have the Spirit upon them. Scripture makes a distinction between the Spirit dwelling in the believer and the Spirit coming upon the believer when they receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit. For instance, in Acts 1:8 Jesus told the believers that they would receive power when the Spirit comes upon them. The Spirit resides in every believer but does not come upon every believer. When it comes to the glory of the Lord, the same is true. Many believers who have the Spirit within have never experienced the glory of the Lord upon them. There are reasons for this: We have either not been taught along these lines, do not believe, are fearful of it, think we are not “spiritual” enough, or never been exposed to this.

New Covenant Glory

What is this glory? It is the manifested presence of God Himself. In the verses preceding our text in 2 Corinthians 3, we read about the former glory under the ministry of Moses when the Law was introduced. His face shone, but it was a glory that was fading. Inspired by the Spirit of God, Paul compares the former glory under the ministry of Moses as inferior to the ministry of the Spirit that we possess today.  The former glory was a fading glory; the glory we minister by the Spirit now is ever-increasing!

How to Experience the Glory

How can we experience this glory? Through contemplation. That word may evoke associations with eastern religions. Always remember that Satan never comes up with anything new. He can only pervert the real thing that God has instituted. As an example, fear is a perverted form of faith. Meditation on the Word of God to build your faith is biblical. Worry is meditating on the lies of the enemy, which increases doubt and unbelief. The same is true with contemplation. Eastern religions major on the contemplation of demons, but that should not deter us from pursuing His presence through biblical contemplation.

We see in the Old Testament how Moses remained in the presence of God long enough until his face reflected that glory. Our text touches on the fact that we can experience that glory as well. Many teachers correctly point to the tabernacle of Moses as symbolic of prayer. We pass from the outer court (the realm of the flesh) to the inner court (the soul), and go to the Holy of Holies (spirit) where the glory of the Lord is. It is a progression. Sadly, many Christians never leave the outer court in their prayer life. Others progress to the inner court where the praise erupts and the goose bumps come and think they have arrived in the Holy of Holies. Getting this far is wonderful and commendable, but they have yet to enter the Holy of Holies. When you do, the manifested presence of God falls on you individually in prayer or corporately in a church service. His manifested presence is His glory. There is no mistaking it for anything else. There is such a holy hush, a powerful heaviness. The root word in Hebrew for “heavy” is the same for “glory”.  In such an atmosphere, you don’t speak, you don’t sing; instead, you become silent. It is a sacred moment; you don’t dare to interrupt or quench that awesome Holy presence.  God wants you to embrace the moment by soaking or basking in His tangible, manifested presence. This is the holy place of His glory, the experience our text is describing.  It is contemplating the glory of the Lord.

Learn to yield to Him. Be still and know that He is God. It may take some time initially. As you persist in waiting on Him, His tangible presence will come on you more quickly and frequently over time. Sometimes His presence will come on you the moment you enter your prayer place, or happen suddenly in the middle of the day when you least expect Him. Start conversing with the Holy Spirit.

There is nothing like it. It is so awesome and wonderful. Basking and soaking in His presence (contemplation) brings you to the highest level of relationship, intimacy, and communion with the Holy Spirit. Contemplating the Lord transforms us into His likeness with ever-increasing glory.

The Purpose

The intimacy with God we reach in contemplation is our primary goal. God wants you to experience His glory regularly. However, this glory over time will begin to affect your ministry to others. The context of our scripture in 2 Corinthians 3 is not just talking about the superiority of the new covenant. It is talking about the superiority of our ministry of God’s glory under the new covenant, which is of the Spirit. The result is more power in your ministry. We do not seek Him to obtain ministry power. We seek Him. However, as we contemplate Him and experience His glory regularly, the people we touch will be affected by that same glory. The more we contemplate the glory of the Lord, the more His glory will manifest through us in power.

The Secret of the Kingdom

He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. Mark 4:11

Jesus said this to his disciples and the others around him after teaching the parable of the sower. This parable explains how His kingdom will either manifest or not manifest in your life. Jesus said we must understand this parable to understand the others. Therefore, this parable is the master parable. Everything having to do with His kingdom revolves around this teaching. The parable of the sower explains why some people get saved and others do not; why some people receive healing and others do not; why some people receive the baptism with the Holy Spirit and others do not; why some people have power in their ministry and others do not. These experiences comprise the kingdom. This parable also explains why some people (and churches) enjoy more  kingdom blessings and others receive less. Amazingly, Jesus called his private explanation a secret.

The Secret

Most people read the explanation of the parable of the sower and still miss the secret. We must understand what the  secret is and put it into practice. The degree to which we experience the kingdom depends on the secret. The operation of the supernatural power of God in your life depends on the secret. Teachers and books through the centuries have touted their particular “secret” and hype it as the key to success. Recently, a well-known celebrity today uses the word in the title of her book about success. The only secret that governs the operation of the most powerful kingdom in the universe is the one that Jesus describes in the parable of the sower.

The Kingdom Defined

To appreciate the parable of the sower, we must understand what the kingdom is. Most Christians think the kingdom consists of heaven, which is to be experienced after we physically die. This is part of the truth. However, Jesus said in Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven (emphasis mine). Jesus wants the kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. The kingdom makes heaven what it is. If Jesus wants the kingdom on earth, then He wants heaven on earth. “On earth as it is in heaven.”

Think about heaven for a minute. What is heaven like? Is there any cancer in heaven? Is there depression, sadness, pain, fear, danger, poverty, or mental breakdown in heaven? No. Heaven is full of God’s presence, love, life, and joy. There is no lack or deficiency in heaven. God wants us to get people to heaven, but He also wants to get heaven to people! Jesus tells us that knowing the secret of the kingdom releases heaven on the earth. Releasing heaven is releasing the kingdom.

Bringing Heaven to Earth

The secret reveals how the kingdom will happen in your life, how it will not happen, and the degree to which it happens. This secret not only applies to our personal lives, but also our ability to impart the kingdom to others as well. He said, “thy kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus did this through His ministry by healing the sick, cleansing the leper, raising the dead, and casting out demons. A study of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John reveals how frequently Jesus connected the kingdom with His supernatural ministry. For example, Jesus said in Luke 11:20: “But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Heaven to earth is all the blessings purchased by Jesus on the cross: eternal life, divine health, prosperity, the baptism with the Holy Spirit, wisdom, the ability to duplicate the ministry of Jesus, and much more. By giving us the secret of the kingdom, Jesus wants us to broker heaven on earth in the same way that He did in His earthly walk.

According to the Measure You Use

Most Christians believe that the measure of heaven they experience on earth is up to God  If so, why did Jesus show us what hinders it, what promotes it, and how to get it in a hundredfold measure? No, He wants you and me to receive and give out the kingdom. The parable of the sower teaches that the Word of God produces results when planted in the right soil. Jesus defines the gospel (the Word) as the “message of the kingdom of God” (Matthew 13:19). We know therefore that the goal of this teaching is to show us how the kingdom can manifest on earth in a greater measure.

Our measure depends on how well we tend the garden of our heart for the Word so it can grow and produce results. That’s the secret. Success depends on the degree of focus and openness of heart we have toward God and His Word. How much of the kingdom do you want: thirty, sixty, or a hundred-fold? The secret is that we can focus on the Word and the things of God to activate the kingdom in our own lives and deliver it to others as Jesus did. The more we focus on the Word, the more our hearts become good soil and the greater the level of kingdom we experience.


The degree of heaven on earth you can receive and give out to others depends on how much you apply the secret of the kingdom. How much results do you want? Do you want a thirty, sixty, or a hundred fold level? Study Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8 carefully. In a teaching series called The Secret of the Kingdom I share additional revelations and insights about this central, pivotal truth.