Beholding the Divine: The Pursuit of Eternal Glory

We, humans, are beings driven by the longing to experience grandeur. Our hearts pulsate with the desire to witness the splendors of existence. This world, in all its vibrant dimensions, serves as a battleground for a myriad of awe-inspiring spectacles.

Indeed, we are creatures drawn to beauty, built for reverence, yearning for amazement. We are inexplicably drawn to the expansive cosmos, the soaring peaks, the mysteries of the ocean, and the wild beauty of untamed terrains. We spend time and resources to participate in collective celebrations of human talent and triumph, to gaze upon the wonders of our created world, and to appreciate the innate beauty of the human form. We have been made to behold marvels.

From the beginning, our eyes have been designed to appreciate beauty. The story of the fall of Eve can be considered: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food and that it was delightful to the eyes…she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6). The eye perceives, that sin ensues. It’s a pattern that continues across humanity. When we forsake the glory of God, it’s often for tangible, visual representations – things that capture the eye and offer an alternative, yet lesser, glory.

The eyes of humanity, thus, are endlessly craving. Like the stomach, they hunger. Like the throat, they thirst. They wander, seeking anything that is worth beholding. Yet, in a world filled with wonders, we continually find ourselves searching for more. As Proverbs 27:20 states, “Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied, and never satisfied are the eyes of man.”

We often misjudge the sources of our happiness. We believe that by achieving greatness, by gaining admiration and acclaim – we can find lasting joy. But we are not created merely for recognition. Instead, we yearn to look beyond the window pane, past the rainy world outside, yearning for something that will captivate us. True joy is found not merely in being seen, but in seeing; not just in being admired, but in admiring. It’s the joy of looking beyond the confines of earthly existence – a joy that few ever discover.

The scriptures tell the tales of those who, hungering for glory, looked upwards and found the true object of their desires.

These individuals climbed mountains, pleaded with the heavens to reveal their glory (Exodus 33:18), and amidst turmoil and violence, yearned to behold the beauty of the Lord (Psalm 27:4). These souls gazed eastward, seeking the sight that would soothe their existential longing – both in this life and the next. “As for me, I shall behold your face in righteousness. When I awake, I shall be satisfied with your likeness” (Psalm 17:15), sang David.

Despite their desires, these Old Testament saints could only glimpse the outline of divine glory. They could not behold the face of God, for to do so meant death (Exodus 33:20). The only glory that can satisfy the insatiable human craving is the glory that would be fatal to behold.

But the narrative did not end there. The glory that was once inaccessible, the beauty too potent for fallen eyes, became human on Christmas Day.

Into a small town named Bethlehem came a God who had never before been seen. Christ – “the image of the invisible God,” the dazzling radiance of God’s glory, “the exact imprint of his nature,” the very face of God’s beauty – became flesh and dwelt among us (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 4:4–6). And so, we beheld his glory, as an apostle wrote, “glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

The sight of Jesus in all his glory can alone satisfy the human eye. His prayer before the crucifixion revealed his wish for his disciples – to witness his glory, the glory given to him before the world began (John 17:24). Such a sight – a glimpse of glory beyond any earthly comparison – is the ultimate spectacle for which our souls yearn.

This is why we, the redeemed, have eyes: to see and relish Jesus Christ in his unveiled glory. This is why we have voices: to sing back to him praises unending. In his presence, faith will give way to a face whose splendor outshines the sun: “The city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb” (Revelation 21:23).

The quest of the human eye leads us to many destinations. But only by beholding Jesus – now through faith, soon in sight – do we find the ultimate vision of happiness. So, where are you looking this season, to satisfy your soul?

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8) — could you imagine anything better? “They will see his face” (Revelation 22:4) — could there be a more fulfilling conclusion? The sight of his royal visage, no longer concealed, is the ultimate satisfaction for both angel and redeemed human.

“You will behold the king in his beauty” (Isaiah 33:17). We will not just see him as he was in Bethlehem or in the streets of Jerusalem; we will see him in his royal splendor (1 John 3:2). And this sight will not only satisfy us, it will transform us. “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will have not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).

Seeing him as he truly is, we will join in wonder with the seraphim, crying holy! and worthy! until we are filled with unfathomable joy. Now, we see dimly, “but then face to face.” Now we know in part; then we shall know fully, even as we have been fully known (1 Corinthians 13:12).

This is the glory hinted at in the Christmas story, celebrated at Easter, and proclaimed for eternity – the glory profound enough to satiate our souls and make us eternally joyful.