Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Glory of the King

"In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple" (Isaiah 6:1).

During the past few days, we have seen Jesus announce the coming of the kingdom. This kingdom is characterized by holiness. It is also characterized by glory, though during His earthly ministry our Lord saw fit to conceal His kingly magnificence. Still, when Jesus cast out demons, it should have been clear that the King had come.

Isaiah once saw the glory of the King. It was in the year that King Uzziah died. Uzziah had ruled Israel for 50 years, and surely when he died the people were upset and wondered what would happen. God granted to His faithful remnant a vision of the true High King of Israel, who was still on His throne. The vision Isaiah was granted on behalf of the faithful was a vision of the pre-incarnate Christ.

We read that “the train of His robe filled the temple.” The glory of this description might elude us, because we (Americans, at least) are not accustomed to the trappings of monarchy. In ancient days, however, the clothing of monarchs was a measure of their status. International protocol would respond to the levels of the magnificence of their clothes: the more precious the fabric and worksmanship, the more honorable the person.

I recall seeing a video of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth on television. The magnificence of her gown required that several pages lift her train because it trailed many feet behind her. But the King seen by Isaiah had a robe so splendid that it billowed out of the throne, curled along the sides of the Temple, and filled the entire building!

Above the throne were the seraphim, each with six wings. The word seraphim means “flaming ones.” These were mighty angels, but so brilliant was the glory of God that these glorious, fiery, angels had to cover their faces with their wings! The glory was too much even for them.

The glory of God is the foundation for the Christian view of art. The beauty of the world reflects His beauty. Learning to appreciate the glory of God takes effort for sinners, however. What specific steps are you taking to appreciate the greatest music, literature, art, and decor that has been produced during the last 2,000 years?