Ten Expressions of God’s Beauty

THE THREE PRIMARY DESCRIPTIONS OF GOD’S BEAUTY (REV. 4; REV. 1; SONG 5)

The purpose of this session is to provide a general overview of God’s beauty. We will bring three key passages together into ten categories so as to give a road map to study God’s beauty.

Revelation 4 gives us significant insight into God’s beauty. It describes the Father’s Throne Room in the Holy of Holies of the New Jerusalem. I refer to this as the “beauty realm of God.”

I have outlined Rev. 4:1-7, into five main categories with each having three specific themes (totaling 15 themes) that reveal God’s beauty. Each detail has many implications.

1.The ultimate reality: God’s life, Throne, and Person (Rev. 4:2)

2.The beauty of God’s Person: how God looks, feels and acts (Rev. 4:3)

3.The beauty of God’s partners: the Church enthroned, robed, and crowned (Rev. 4:4)

4.The beauty of God’s power: manifestations of power in lightning, thunder, sounds (Rev. 4:5a)

5.The beauty of the Spirit’s Presence (fire): on lamps, seraphim, and the sea (Rev. 4:5b-7; 15:2)

1 Behold, a door standing open in heaven….the first voice which I heard was like a trumpet…saying, “Come up here, and I will show you things which must take place.” 2 I was in the Spirit and…Throne set in heaven, and One sat on the Throne. 3 He…was like a jasper and a sardius stone …there was a rainbow around the Throne…4 Around the Throne were 24 thrones…I saw 24 elders…in white robes; they had crowns…5 From the Throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning… 6 Before the Throne there was a sea of glass…around the Throne, were four living creatures… (Rev. 4:1-6)

John saw Jesus’ beauty as the son of God and the son of Man (God-Man). He described the beauty of the pre-existent Christ (Alpha and Omega; Rev. 1:11; 2:8; 22:13) who is our human high priest (candlesticks, priestly robe, golden breastplate; Ex. 25:7; 28:4; Lev. 16:4; Isa. 6:1).

11 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last…12 I saw…13 the Son of Man, clothed with a garment…and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength…17 I fell at His feet as dead. (Rev. 1:11-17)

John sees Jesus’ head and hair as white emphasizing that He possesses the Father’s wisdom, purity and eternal existence (Isa. 1:18; Dan. 7:9; Heb. 1:3; Col. 1:15-17). Jesus’ eyes are like a flame of fire as His knowledge penetrates all things as fire penetrates metal. Jesus’ feet are like refined brass as He judges all that is unholy. Feet speak of receiving our inheritance and victory over the enemy (Josh. 1:3). His voice is like the sound of many waters is powerful and full of majesty (Ps. 29:4). It upholds all creation (Heb. 1:3). Jesus as King rules over all that is in His Church (seven stars are His apostolic messengers) and all that opposes it. He defeats all His enemies and rules all the nations with His sword (Rev. 19:15). Jesus’ countenance is a weapon against His enemies that causes them to turn away and hide as from the shining of the sun.

Song of Solomon 5:10-16 gives us the greatest poetic revelation of Jesus’ beauty in Scripture. It focuses on His majestic personality and leadership (power and plans).

10 My Beloved is white (dazzling) and ruddy, chief among ten thousand. 11 His head is like the finest gold; His locks (hair) are wavy, and black as a raven. 12 His eyes are like doves…washed with milk, and fitly set. 13 His cheeks are like a bed of spices…His lips are lilies, dripping liquid myrrh. 14 His hands are rods of gold…His body is carved ivory inlaid with sapphires. 15 His legs are pillars of marble…His countenance is like Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. 16 His mouth is most sweet, Yes, He is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem! (Song 5:10-16)

In Song 5, the Spirit combined metaphors of the human body (His head, hair, eyes, cheeks, lips, hands, body, legs, countenance, mouth) and the Jerusalem Temple (gold, precious stones, ivory, cedars of Lebanon, spices, myrrh, pillars of marble) to convey 10 attributes of Jesus by images that were familiar in Solomon’s day. It begins and ends with a general statement (v. 10, 16).

His leadership (power and plans) is compared to the finest gold (v. 11). It is enhanced by His perfect wisdom (eyes that see all, v. 12) and sovereign power (hands like rods of gold and legs stable like pillars of marble, v. 14-15). He woos and instructs us by His fragrant words (lips like lilies and mouth most sweet, v. 13, 16) as He imparts His glory by the gaze of His countenance (excellence of Lebanon, v. 15).

His personality is seen in His emotions (cheeks like beds of spices, v. 13) and tender compassion which is rare and valuable (body like carved ivory with sapphires, v. 14). His dedication to God and His people is eternally vigorous (youthful and healthy hair, v. 11). The Bride summarizes Jesus’ beauty by saying, “He is altogether lovely” (v. 16). All His attributes flow together in perfect unity making Him the most lovely person imaginable.

EXPRESSION #1: GOD’S BEAUTY IN HIS LIGHT (COLOR): HOW GOD LOOKS

God’s beauty is seen in the many colors that radiate from His Being and Throne including the brightness of diamonds (jasper), fiery red glory (sardius) and the various colors of the rainbow.

2 Behold, a Throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. 3 He who sat there was like a jasper (diamond like) and a sardius stone (deep red) in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the Throne, in appearance like an emerald (green). (Rev. 4:2-3)

God covers Himself with garments of light, with many colors like Joseph’s garment (Rev. 4:3).

2 You…cover Yourself with light as with a garment… (Ps. 104:2)

5 God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 Jn. 1:5)

9 Proclaim the praises of Him who called you…into His marvelous light… (1 Pet. 2:9)

God dwells in light that no one can approach. This light functions to protect His creation from His full radiance. At strategic moments, the light that covers God’s person is temporarily lifted and the Seraphim gaze on Him and fall before Him overwhelmed.

16 Who alone has immortality, dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see, to whom be honor and everlasting power. (1 Tim. 6:16)

Thunder and flashes of lightning come out of God’s Throne.

5 From the Throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. (Rev. 4:5)

EXPRESSION #2: GOD’S BEAUTY IS SEEN IN JESUS’ PHYSICAL BEAUTY

God’s beauty is seen in Jesus’ resurrected body and garments that are filled with glorious power.

21 Will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body… (Phil. 3:21)

17 Your eyes will see the King in His beauty… (Isa. 33:17)

2 In that day the Branch of the LORD (Jesus) shall be beautiful and glorious… (Isa. 4:2)

Jesus can manifest or veil His resurrected glory according to the situation. He veiled it when He appeared in Jn. 20-21. However, in Rev. 1, He manifested it causing John to fall as a dead man.

13 The Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool…His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace…16 His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. (Rev. 1:13-17)

Jesus has a golden band around His chest paralleling the breastplate of the high priest (Ex. 25:7; Lev. 16:4). Jesus’ garments possess supernatural qualities.

1 Who is glorious in His apparel, traveling in the greatness of His strength? (Isa. 63:1)

Jesus’ eyes of fire (Rev 1:14; 2:18; 19:12) speak of His knowledge that penetrates all things as fire penetrates metal. They also refer to His love and zeal for His people as a bridegroom. His eyes of fire impart God’s love and holiness to us. When He looks at us our heart will be warmed and filled with the flame of God’s love.

Jesus white hair reflects the Father’s white hair that proclaims His eternal existence and purity (Dan. 7:9; Ps. 51:7; Isa. 1:18). Jesus’ feet like brass removes all that is unholy. His face shines like the sun shining in its strength. As it is impossible to look directly into the brightness of the sun, so His countenance is a weapon that overwhelms His enemies.

8 Then the lawless one (Antichrist) will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (2 Thes. 2:8)

15 The kings of the earth…16 said to the mountains…, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the Throne and…the wrath of the Lamb!” (Rev. 6:15-16)

God’s beauty is seen in Jesus’ face. His face is like no other. His face is holy, powerful and awesome, yet warm and inviting. The smile on His face, the look of His eyes and the brightness of His countenance are filled with beauty as they conquer His people in love.

6…The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Cor. 4:6)

Jesus possesses the brightness of the Father’s glory that is stronger than the sun.

3 Being the brightness of His (Father’s) glory…the express image of His Person… (Heb. 1:3)

23 The moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts (Jesus) will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously. (Isa. 24:23)

13 I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me…14 When we all had fallen to the ground, I heard…, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” (Acts 26:13-14)

4 His (Jesus’) brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand… (Hab. 3:4)

Jesus’ glory illuminates the Eternal City and fills it with the weight of God’s presence.

23 The City (New Jerusalem) had no need of the sun…for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. 24 The nations…shall walk in its light… (Rev. 21:23-24)

3 The Throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it (New Jerusalem)… 5 They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord gives them light. (Rev. 22:3-5)

Jesus is the light of the New Jerusalem, the Millennial earth and the New Earth afterwards.

12 I am the light of the world. (Jn. 8:12)

Ezekiel described “layers of glory and brightness” around Jesus’ Throne like concentric circles going outward. He saw a great cloud engulfed with raging fire with amber brightness radiating from it. Within that cloud were four living creatures who looked like burning coals who sparkled like burnished bronze. Above the great cloud was an awesome crystal firmament on which sat Jesus’ sapphire Throne, from which amber glory with fire and brightness shone forth.

4 Behold, a whirlwind was coming out of the north, a great cloud with raging fire engulfing itself; and brightness was all around it and radiating out of its midst like the color of amber …5 From within it came…four living creatures…7 They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze… 13 Their appearance was like burning coals of fire, and like the appearance of torches…22 The firmament above…the living creatures was…awesome crystal…26 Above the firmament over their heads was the likeness of a Throne…like a sapphire stone…with a man (Jesus) high above it. 27 His waist and upward I saw, as it were, the color of amber with the appearance of fire all around within it; and from the appearance of His waist and downward I saw, as it were, the appearance of fire with brightness all around. (Ezek. 1:4-27)

The Bride in the Song of Solomon spoke of Jesus’ shining beauty. The Hebrew word translated as white can be translated radiant (NIV), dazzling (NAS), brilliant or shining white.

10 My Beloved is white (radiant, NIV, dazzling, NAS)…chief among ten thousand. (Song 5:10)

EXPRESSION #3: BEAUTY OF GOD’S PERSONALITY: HOW GOD FEELS AND ACTS

The most dynamic expression of God’s beauty is His seen in His personality (His emotions, character, happiness, holiness and desires, etc.). Understanding God’s emotions gives us insight into “why” God did what He did. He created the heavens and the earth. Why did He create?

Because He burns with desire for His people. He is very thoughtful in His care for us. What happens in our heart affects His heart. He feels our pain, sees our value, and plans our welfare.

23 …that the world may know that You…have loved them as You have loved Me. (Jn. 17:23)

9 As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you… (Jn. 15:9)

God’s personality is filled with joy, delight, pleasure and gladness.

11 In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forever. (Ps. 16:11)

8 You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures. (Ps. 36:8)

God’s beautiful personality is praised when we see how reliable God is in His holiness from which He never deviates. God’s holiness expresses His perfect righteousness, love and goodness.

9 Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! (Ps. 96:9)

8 To the Son He says: “Your Throne, O God, is forever…a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God…has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.” (Heb. 1:8-9)

God’s beautiful personality is seen in how He relates to us with indescribable kindness and tenderness. Nothing reveals His beauty as does His tenderness to sinful and broken people.

4 The riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering… (Rom. 2:4)

35 Your right hand has held me up, Your gentleness has made me (David) great. (Ps. 18:35)

God’s ways are higher than man’s in His ability to forgive people. There is no one on the earth who forgives as God does. He shows forth skillful mercy that brings us to repentance, purity and wisdom. In other words, it bring us to righteousness as it trains us in wisdom.

7 Let the wicked forsake his way…let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him…for He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways (mercy) higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:7-9)

The Song of Solomon describes God’s emotions as being like a bed of spices, pointing to the diversity of His passions and pleasures. His emotions are like beds of fragrant spices and banks of scented herbs. In other words, He possesses an abundance of sweet and fragrant affections, including the Father’s delight over His Son, the Son’s delight over His Father and their pleasure over their people, ways, plans and creation itself.

13 His cheeks (emotions) are like a bed of spices, banks of scented herbs. (Song 5:13)

EXPRESSION #4: BEAUTY OF GOD’S LEADERSHIP: HIS PLANS AND WISDOM

The beauty of God’s brilliant mind and leadership is expressed as He executes His wise and kind plans for human history that will progressively unfold throughout all eternity. When we hear a great song or see an excellent movie, we may say it was beautiful as it reflects the writer’s creativity. The storyline of history (natural and eternal) unfolds God’s beauty.

The three main works of God are His creation, redemption and leadership of history. God works from a predetermined blueprint that contains His brilliant storyline for history. We will be eternally awed by His great plans established at the beginning of time (Eph. 3:9-10).

The saints will cry, “Jesus’ leadership is great and marvelous.” We will be enthralled with each dimension of the script in which God had orchestrated human history.

3 They sing…saying: “Great and marvelous are Your works, Lord God Almighty!” (Rev. 15:3)

God’s beauty is seen in His remembrance of all the small things that we have done.

13 There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. (Heb. 4:13)

10 For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love… (Heb. 6:10)

21 You were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. (Mt. 25:21)

EXPRESSION #5 THE BEAUTY OF THE SPIRIT’S MANIFEST PRESENCE AND POWER

5 Seven lamps (torches) of fire were burning before the Throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. 6 Before the Throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. And in the midst of the Throne, and around the Throne, were four living creatures (seraphim)… (Rev. 4:5-7)

God’s beauty is seen in the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence which is manifest as divine fire on the seven lamps, the four seraphim and the sea of glass like crystal (Rev. 4:5-7; 15:2). The seven lamps of fire speak of the Holy Spirit’s manifest presence that is imparted to the redeemed (Rev. 1:4; 3:1; 5:6). This fire beautifies, anoints, and makes holy all those near to God.

10 A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him… (Dan 7:10 NAS)

The saints on the Sea of glass stand in God’s fire.

2 A sea of glass mingled with fire, and those…standing on the sea of glass… (Rev. 15:2)

The four living creatures are seraphim which means the “burning ones.” They show forth four different faces of God’s beauty in redemption (lion calf, man, eagle). These picture those who are made beautiful in God’s grace being made fully alive in the Spirit.

7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third…had a face like a man, and the fourth…was like a flying eagle. (Rev. 4:7)

God’s beauty is seen in the manifestations of His power. In the heavens, there are 100 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. There are 100 million galaxies of which the Milky Way Galaxy is one of the smaller ones. In The Evidential Power of Beauty by Thomas Dubay, we read of the vastness of God’s beauty as seen in His power as well as in the micro universe within one cell in God’s creative design. When God heals, delivers, and provides in surprising ways, He shows forth His beauty. God’s power is released in the lightning and thunder that proceeds from His Throne. His lightning releases His energy, light and splendor (Rev. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18).

EXPRESSION #6: BEAUTY OF GOD’S PARTNERSHIP: HIS BRIDE

God’s beauty is seen in the partner that He redeemed so as to rule the universe with Him. The beauty God possesses is the very beauty that He imparts to these people (Isa. 61:3). Here, we see God’s beauty in His desire for full partnership with His weak people. We express His beauty.

21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My Throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His Throne. (Rev. 3:21)

The glory of the man Jesus is expressed in the wife, He chooses as His life partner forever.

4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband… (Prov. 12:4)

God’s Throne is adorned by exalting the saints as they are enthroned, robed, and crowned.

4 Around the Throne were 24 thrones, and on the thrones I saw 24 elders sitting, clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads. (Rev. 4:4)

The elders are enthroned with God’s authority with unspeakable dignity (Rev.2:28; 3:21). The elders are clothed in the white robes of priestly garments (Rev. 3:4-5, 18). They wear golden crowns because God remembers and rewards their works from this life (Rev. 2:10; 3:11).

EXPRESSION #7: BEAUTY OF GOD’S MUSIC AND VOICE

God’s beauty is seen in the majestic music, sounds, choirs, voices, noises and thunder that surround Him (Rev. 4:5; 8:5; 11:19; 16:18). Jesus is a singer, songwriter and musician.

17 The LORD your God in your midst…He will rejoice over you with singing. (Zeph. 3:17)

5 From the Throne proceeded…voices. (Rev. 4:5)

2 I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. I heard the sound of harpists…3 They sang…a new song before the Throne…no one could learn that song except the 144,000 who were redeemed from the earth. (Rev. 14:2-3)

Jesus’ voice is powerful and full of majesty like a trumpet (Rev. 1:10; Ps. 29:4).

10 A loud voice, as of a trumpet… 15 His voice as the sound of many waters… (Rev. 1:10, 15)

4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty. (Ps. 29:4)

EXPRESSION #8: BEAUTY OF GOD’S ROYAL COURT AND HIS ETERNAL CITY

God’s beauty is seen in His royal court which is adorned with the seraphim, cherubim, elders, saints and the myriads of angels. His winds, music and fragrances flow across the Sea of glass.

4   Around  the  Throne…I  saw  twenty-four  elders  sitting…5  from  the  Throne  proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the Throne…6

Before the Throne there was a sea of glass, like crystal. (Rev. 4:3-6)

6 Honor and majesty are before Him; strength and beauty are in His sanctuary. (Ps. 96:6)

God’s beauty is seen in His design of the Eternal City (Rev. 21-22). The way He created the City is an extension of what is in His heart. Experts on light in architecture report that it is essential to establish proper contrasts, hues and angles of light in a building to reach maximum impact.

God is the ultimate “interior decorator” and His house excels in beauty. The New Jerusalem is God’s dream home. He chose the land and determined the landscape with trees, gardens, rivers and ponds. The decor and furniture of the City and each house will express God’s personality.

EXPRESSION #9: BEAUTY OF GOD’S FRAGRANCES

God’s beauty is seen in His fragrance. The anointing oil and the incense Moses made for use in the tabernacle had beautiful fragrances because they spoke of God’s fragrance. How many scents emanate from God? I assume that there are different fragrances for each occasion in the City.

15 For we are to God the fragrance of Christ. (2 Cor. 2:15)

The Throne of God is described as the mountain of spices.

14 Make haste…and be like a gazelle on the mountains of spices. (Song 8:14)

EXPRESSION #10: BEAUTY OF GOD’S COMMUNICATION: WORD AND COUNTENANCE

God’s beauty is seen in His written Word that will not be exhausted throughout all eternity. In a billion years, we will be reading the same Bible. It will be deeply relevant to us forever. David understood the beauty of God’s Word.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect…8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure…10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. (Ps. 19:7-10)

Jesus’ mouth speaks of His sweet communication (intimacy). Jesus is altogether lovely. He was described in detail (Song 5:10-16). His leadership is like finest gold and His dedication eternally vigorous. His knowledge is perfect and His emotions are like banks of scented herbs. His Word has the sweetness of lilies and His actions are golden. His tender yearnings are like carved ivory, rare and expensive. The way He works His eternal plan and fulfills His purposes, are durable and stable and beautiful like pillars of marble. His countenance imparts the glory of God.

16 His mouth is most sweet, Yes, he is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved… (Song 5:16)




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