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5, GLORIOUS IN APPAREL
by Philip Owen

 

              "Clothes make the man." Or so must be the motto of every clothing manufacturer in the world. And the attention that many give to what they wear tends to confirm that opinion. And while much of said attendtion is mere vanity, it is certainly true that what we wear often accurately reflects our occupation, our personality, our interests, and our character. But where God is concerned, His apparel always perfectly expresses who He is and what He does. The Bible says much more about God's "apparel" than a casual thought might suggest. But we must limit ourselves to two citations.

 

           Shocking apparel. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?  this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength?  I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.  Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?  I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me:  for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. . . .  And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth” (Isa. 63:1-3, 6; cf., Rev. 19:13).  This poetic description of the Lord bringing judgment upon Israel’s enemies in the Day of Jehovah, the coming tribulation, sounds a jarring note to those who view God as a God of love, who never judges sin.  But such a view denies the body of Scripture.  What some may find even more shocking is that the Lord is clothed in red apparel, having been dyed with the blood of His enemies, and clothed in these blood-soaked garments, He is described as “glorious in his apparel”!  How far removed are the ways of God from the distorted, emotion-driven views of man.  Man glories in sin and the sinner.  God glories in righteousness and the righteous.  When the Lord, clothed in His robes of righteous judgment, rises, ascends to His holy bench, and bangs the final gavel down upon sin, He displays His glory.  When sinners refuse to repent, persist in rebellion, and rush to destroy what is holy and righteous, God brings their rebellion to a swift and complete end.  And the blood-spattered testimony to His holy work, He calls glorious.  God is glorified when sin is judged.

             Striking apparel.  If we think that when we speak of God’s apparel, we have in mind chiefly some fabric made of linen or wool, we have a pauper’s conception of the glorious apparel of God.  Humans need such clothing to cover our nakedness and to protect us from heat and cold.  God transcends His creatures.  His apparel is far more striking.  Daniel remarks that the Lord “knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (2:22); Paul describes the Lord as “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (I Tim. 6:16).  Ezekiel observes:  “And I saw the colour of amber, as the appearance of fire round about within it, from the appearance of his loins even upward, and from the appearance of his loins even downward, I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and it had brightness round about” (1:27).  No human tailor, nor even an angel, ever turned out such clothing.  Here is one who effects an aura of infinite brilliance as the holiness, purity, and righteousness of His Person radiates in every direction, clothing His essential Being in the glorious beauty of holiness.  Everything He dons is glorious.  When He judges, when he reigns, at rest and at work, He is clothed in the radiance of heaven.  And like the burning bush that Moses saw, His apparel of light attracts and separates, beckons and banishes.  As the Light shining in the darkness He saves; as the “Father of lights” He bestows glorious gifts on His children; and as the light of Israel He will “kindle a burning” that will judge sinners.

 

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