Garments for the King

“All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.” (Psalm 45:8)

One of the most beautiful of the Christmas hymns (though rarely sung at Christmas) is “Out of the Ivory Palaces,” telling how the King of heaven left His heavenly home and laid aside His perfumed, royal clothing to enter “a world of woe.” That this 45th Psalm is symbolic in part is obvious, but that it refers to Christ is also obvious from its use in Hebrews 1:8: “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom,” quoting Psalm 45:6.

That the eternal King left heaven to come to Earth is not symbolic, however, but very real; nor did He have royal robes in which to be arrayed, for they “wrapped [Him] in swaddling clothes” and laid Him “in a manger” (Luke 2:12).

Then, as He later walked the dusty roads of Judea, we know little of what He wore, but we do know that on one notable occasion, He “laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. . . . and began to wash the disciples’ feet” (John 13:4-5). A strange garment, and stranger action, for the King of glory!

Yet, stranger still that men whom He had created later “took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat. . . . but cast lots for it” (John 19:23-24), leaving Him naked to die a painful death spiked to a tree. Finally, His little remnant of friends took “the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes” (John 19:40) for His burial.

Now, however, in glory, He once again is arrayed in kingly apparel, “clothed with a garment down to the foot, and . . . with a golden girdle” (Revelation 1:13), and one day, all His redeemed shall see Him—in His beauty—the King in whose law we delight! HMM

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