“How do I get filled with God’s glory?” Many in the Old Testament asked that question and Moses uttered this very cry. The King James Version renders Moses’ anguish most clearly: “I beseech thee, shew me thy glory” (Exodus 33:18). This “beseeching” implies a pleading, a groaning in the soul, an expression of a need that simply had to be filled.
God must have been pleased by Moses’ request, because He agreed to reveal His glory. He instructed Moses to hide behind a rock and peek out briefly as He passed by, because He knew even Moses could not behold the brilliance of His glory. So Moses beheld God’s glory in small part—yet that ray of glory affected him powerfully.
Most of us have been taught that after Moses descended, he had to place a veil over his face because it shone so brightly. Yet Scripture actually says, “When Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face” (Exodus 34:33, ESV). It was after Moses spoke to the people that he covered his face. What was that about?
Paul explains this in Second Corinthians: “Moses . . . put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end” (2 Corinthians 3:13, ESV). Paul’s bold statement that a form of God’s glory actually comes to an end was referring to the glory on Moses’ face. Even the brilliant glory of God’s presence would eventually fade.
Yet, Paul says, there is a type of God’s glory that does not fade away. “If what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory” (3:11). Paul is speaking here of God’s glory as embodied in Jesus Christ alone. “Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face” (3:12-13). Because of Christ’s glory, we are emboldened in a way that even Moses wasn’t! Paul explains: “When one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (3:16-18).
In Christ, we have within us a glory that does not fade. Our boldness exceeds even that of Moses because it is empowered by Christ’s own Spirit. The glory of the Lord was on Moses from his time in the Lord’s presence but it is different for us. Because of Jesus, God’s glory in us never stops working. It continually transforms us “from one degree of glory to another.” We have a permanent, unchanging, unfading glory!