Thursday in the Fifth Week of Easter

Revelation 21:9-27

The Perfection of Beauty

Beauty is something that has lost even a general definition in our day.  We often say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  There is some truth in this.  Someone can see beauty in someone or something that others do not.  But then we hear of monstrous exhibits of “art” in which a cross is immersed in urine.  Or perhaps it’s something inoffensive like beer cans strung in row, or paint smeared on a canvas.  We have come a long way from Michelangelo and Raphael, or even Bach and Shakespeare, for that matter.  We must have some standard of beauty.  After all, sane people will agree that a flower is pretty and a pile of manure is ugly.  But how do we know?

Revelation gives us a clue in this chapter when describing the Bride of the Lamb.  We first note that the Church is the Bride of Christ from Ephesians 5:25-33.  But here the Bride appears to be more a place than anything else as we see New Jerusalem descending out of heaven.  But there is no contradiction in seeing the Church as both personal Bride and faithful city.  We note again how the saints of both Old and New Testaments come together as the gates are named after the twelve tribes of Israel while the foundations are named after the twelve apostles.  The Church of God is complete.  As for description of the city, we note the precious gems used to describe the gates and foundations, and how the gates are divided into four groups of three facing the four different directions.  The city itself is a perfect cube, the numbers twelve and one thousand further expressing perfection.  We learn from this that at least part of the definition of beauty is order and symmetry, something long forgotten today.

Light is a characteristic of beauty.  Note that there is no sun or moon in the city, the reason being that the glory of God gives the city all the light it needs.  And because no evil thing can enter in, the gates are never shut, reminding us that another characteristic of beauty is goodness.  Finally, nothing false is allowed to enter, reminding us that beauty also includes truth as a necessary ingredient.

Someone has said that beauty is the coalescence of truth and goodness.  This makes sense to me.  And when I think of our Lord, I see the perfection of goodness and truth come together in one life.  Let us strive for goodness and truth in our own lives and in the church, and we shall see beauty as we have never experienced it before.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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