The King in His Beauty
Isaiah 33:17
Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

It is astonishing how much comfort can be packed up in a few words. If one were asked to put into a single sentence the entire body of Scriptural prophecy, of Old and New Testament prophecy combined, he could not easily find a more complete condensation of the whole than in the text. There are two points of view from which we may look at the text.

I. THE OBJECTIVE ASPECT, or the vision as it is set before us; the moral and spiritual ideal yet to be realised.

1. The text is a prediction as to a glorious Person and a far-off land, both of them entirely beyond the calculations of men. "The King in His beauty" is Jesus Christ, The words are striking. It is not exactly the King in His majesty, or grandeur, or glory, or power, but "the King in His beauty." We speak of the good and the beautiful and the true. And there is a singular accordance between those three super-excellent realities. We think of them in connection with the Persons in the Godhead. While it is true that all glory and power of the one aspect of the Divine Being belongs to the other, still we are permitted to make a distinction in our thoughts, and we think of the Father as that One in whom we see pre-eminently the good; and the Son as that One in whom we see specifically the beautiful; and the Spirit as that One in whom we see pre-eminently the true.

2. When we turn our thoughts to the beautiful alone, we are met by this conception — that the beautiful is but another word for the becoming. A beautiful action is an action which it becomes one to do. A beautiful character is one, all the elements of which are in sweet accordance; when part is adapted to part, as the colours of the rainbow blend together; when one line of the form gracefully runs into another; when one sound is the harmonious concomitant and perfect sequel of another — there you have beauty, the beauty as a spirit breathing through the whole and informing all its parts — such a whole that one part may become the other, and pass and repass into the other. The beauty is translucent, elastic, perfect. Now apply this conception to Jesus Christ, and you will see with what amazing propriety the beautiful in Him is the same as the becoming. Consider the harmony of the Divine Being as the eternal source of all the beauty we can ever know. Consider the essential beauty of our human nature as made in the image and after the likeness of God; consider, further, the absolutely harmonious combination and indissoluble union of those two natures in Christ with the amazing self-sacrifice of the Son of God for our redemption, and the adaptation of His work to all the wants of our case, and you have such a conception of the becoming — of all that it becomes both God and man to do — as explains to us the emphasis and the propriety with which Christ is spoken of as "the King in His beauty." No one can be beautiful apart from Him.

3. Society is at present a hideous discord, at least to a very large extent. We cannot say that it is beautiful. But it is not more certain that Jesus Christ is King; it is not more certain that He is the centre of heaven's harmony, than it is certain that the far-off land will yet be brought nigh and made visible upon the earth; and that God's will shall be done upon the earth, even as it is done in heaven.

II. THE SUBJECTIVE ASPECT, or what is implied in seeing the vision, in realising the ideal. The time is coming when every human being shall actually look upon Jesus Christ. But to look is not always to see all that can be seen. To see the King in His beauty implies a deeper seeing than that of merely looking upon Him. It implies a being made like Him. In order to see the kingdom of God, or to enter into it, we must actually be born again. We must ourselves (in other words) be a part of that which we truly see. We shall see Him at last because we shall have been made like Him. It is the pure in heart who see God This seeing of God is our heaven in its highest and most complete form; and it is by faith in Christ that we are brought to this perception. As faith grows and develops, as it passes into the life, it turns the abstract ideal into the concrete reality. On the other hand, the result is certain from the Divine side. It is secured by the fact that the King in His beauty is there. The heavenly Bridegroom is waiting for the perfection of His Bride. And as He waits He works, tie rules over all things for the accomplishment of the Divine purpose. Make, then, the goal of your life quite clear, and lay down all your lines of thought and action directly for that goal. Let us thank God that such is the Christianity of Jesus Christ.

(F. Ferguson, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty: they shall behold the land that is very far off.

WEB: Your eyes will see the king in his beauty. They will see a distant land.

The King in His Beauty
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