I heard a favorite pastor of mine, Henry Mahan say this in a sermon once and thought it worth sharing here:
It is utterly impossible to put on canvas or in a statue anything that resembles the unspeakable glory of our God. You can’t capture the glory of God on canvas or in a statue. The best that a mortal man could produce would be dishonoring to the Lord. Can a statue contain him who the heavens can’t contain? In pertaining to David building a house for the Lord:
2 Chron 2:6 But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him?
Christ Jesus, our Savior is called the exact image of God. Can you put the exact image of God on a canvas? Christ Jesus the Lord is called the brightness of God’s glory. That cannot be captured on a picture. What folly to even think of reducing the Lord of Glory to a picture.
Paint the spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters in creation.
Paint Melchizedec, King of Peace, priest of the most high God blessing Abraham.
Paint the voice speaking from the burning bush to Moses. “I am that I am!”
Paint the Shikinah Glory, the presence of God that rested between the cherubims on the mercy seat.
Paint the son of man walking in the firey furnace with the Hebrew children.
Paint Jacob’s ladder reaching to heaven.
Paint the rock that followed them, the pillar of fire by night and the cloud by day.
Paint the angel of the Lord that wrestled with Jacob.
Paint the glorified son of God on the Mount of Transfiguration.
Paint the soul agony of Christ. They’ve got pictures of Christ on the cross. They are offensive. You cannot see the soul agony of the son of God who walked the winepress of God’s wrath alone bearing our sins in his body on the tree. His countenance was so marred. His visage. He didn’t even look like a human being.
Paint the exalted Christ that met Paul on the road to Damascus. “Who art thou Lord? I am Jesus whom thou persecuteth.” It struck Paul blind. And you’re going to hang one on your wall?
Paint the coming king whom we shall see and be transformed into his likeness. We shall see him and be like him. We shall see him as he is. Until we can, put away your canvas, put away your paintbrush and do what everyone else has done who has truly seen the Lord:
Moses: Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground!
Job: I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Isaiah: I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, his train filled the temple. His glory filled the heavens and I cried, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
John: When I saw him, I fell at his feet as a dead man.
When we truly see the Lord, we’re overcome with two things, our sinfulness and his holiness. And it’s sinful to present him to any lower than he is, I believe.
The head that once was crowned with thorns is crowned with glory now,
The royal diadem adorns the mighty victor’s brow.
The highest place that deity affords is his and his by right.
The king of kings, Lord of Lords is heaven’s only light.
He, who on earth, as man was known and bore our sin and shame,
Now is seated on his eternal throne.
The God of Glory reigns!
Many Blessings in Christ,