(16.) On Christ as the King of Glory

(16.) On Christ as the King of Glory

(16.) On Christ as the King of Glory.

“Lift up your heads, O ye gates! And be lifted up you everlasting doors! And the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, O ye gates! Lift up your everlasting doors. And the King of Glory shall come in. Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of Glory.” (Psalm 24:7-10).

Father Patrick Reardon has called Psalm 24the coronation song crowning Christ as Lord of all. It is a celebration of the Lord’s glorious entrance into the heavenly sanctuary and royal court.” (Christ in the Psalms). There are good reasons why this triumphant song has been sung in the Christian church on Ascension Sunday for centuries. Picture the scene at the entrance to heaven. The victorious Jesus has just ascended from the earth and is now being welcomed into the Kingdom of God. He is still bearing scars on His glorified body that exhibit His suffering and sacrifice. He has conquered death and defeated Satan. He has removed the penalty of sin. And He has prepared the way for His Holy Spirit to descend, continuing His presence, and enabling His followers to accomplish His work on earth. And so, Jesus is now ready, about to enter through the gates, to assume His rightful place at the right hand of God the Father. The angels now sing in celebration as the Lord Jesus approaches heaven’s holy gates. The doors to the royal court stand ready for the grand entrance as the Son of God returns from His mission in triumph. “This King of Glory comes to the entrance of heaven with the blood of the conflict still fresh upon Him, and a kind of dialogue takes place as the angels call for the opening of the portcullis at the approach of the returning Warrior.” (Reardon). We of course can’t be eyewitnesses to this unspeakable event, this breath-taking moment in human history. But we can imagine the joyous chant of the angels as they sing, “Who is this King of Glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory!

What does it mean, now that Jesus has been fully glorified, now that He has ascended into the glory of heaven? What was accomplished by his ascension and then His assuming the throne as the King of Glory? What does it mean for humanity now that Jesus has been taken up to heaven in bodily form and somehow united heaven and earth?

  1. By ascending through all the cosmic spheres, Christ took possession of them all, one after another, and becomes the head of the total cosmos, and makes the entire universe acknowledge Him as Lord.” (NJB notes).
  2. The Lord left the earth in order to be glorified with God the Father and to glorify us with Himself. He went in order to “prepare a place” for us and to take us also into the blessedness of God’s presence. He goes to open the way for all flesh into the “heavenly sanctuary, the Holy Place not made by hands.” (Heb. 8-10).
  3. Since the Ascension, Jesus represents humanity at the right hand of God. We are as good as there with Him in the heavenlies through Christ’s representation, because we are “in Christ.” It’s the same thing when the team captains go to meet the referees together before the game. The captain represents the whole team. The captain’s presence is the same thing as the whole team being present. Jesus is our Captain, going before us into the heavenly realm, representing us in God’s presence.
  4. “And Christ raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together, giving us joint seating with Him in the heavenly sphere, by virtue of our being in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One.” (Eph. 2:6). “Paul’s use of the past tense shows that the triumph of Christians in heaven is considered as actually existing, whereas the future tense treats it as something that is still to take place. Paul often treats a future reality as already existing.” (NJB notes). In other words, Paul loves to embrace the idea of the continuous present, the ongoing flow of indivisible time. Both what has happened and what will happen is true right now. We are already seated with Christ in the heavenlies, but it is nonetheless yet to happen. We are as good as there, right now.
  5. “The Ascension is an essential component of the very sacrifice of the Cross. The atoning sacrifice of Christ did not end on Golgotha, but was rendered perfect and complete by His definitive entrance into the eternal Holy of Holies. The Ascension is integral to the Lord’s priesthood. If He was simply on earth, He wouldn’t be our High Priest.” (Father Reardon).
  6. The Ascension resulted in the glorification of Jesus Christ, in which His divine nature is finally and fully unveiled. He shares equally in power and authority with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. His eternal royal status as Lord of all is immovable and unshakeable. For all eternity Jesus will share in the honor due God. Jesus is now sitting at the right hand of the Father in body and in spirit, and “lives to make intercession for us.” (Heb. 7:25). His role is to be the mediator between us and God. Jesus’ constant presence in heaven as our High Priest assures us our forgiveness and acceptance. The sacrifice is accomplished and eternally complete.
  7. “The Ascension completed the union of God and humanity, for a Man who is God now reigns in heaven.” (Orthodox liturgy).
  8. The Ascension happened after forty unprecedented days of Jesus in His resurrected body. He was coming and going mysteriously. He was appearing and disappearing. He was opening up Scripture to the disciples. The disciples then needed to see the physical ascent of Jesus for a sense of closure to Jesus’ time on earth. The Ascension confirmed that Jesus’ true eternal home was in heaven, and His earthly ministry was accomplished. The disciples needed a formal departure of Jesus in order to begin preparing for the arrival of the Holy Spirit.
  9. (A thought on the cloud of Ascension): “O thou who alone art the lover of mankind… the cloud which today envelops Jesus and ascends with Him to heaven, represents the smoke of the sacrifice rising from the altar of God. The sacrifice is accepted and the victim is admitted to God’s presence. The work of our salvation has been accomplished and is blessed.” (Orthodox Liturgy of Ascension Thursday). 
  10. The entrance of the King of Glory to heaven after the Ascension seems to be a fulfillment of the messianic vision of Daniel 7:13-14“I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom that all the peoples, nations, and people of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” 
  11. The radiance of the King’s presence fills the courts of heaven, as it filled the whole earth. The glory, the weighty splendor of His presence, is now fully expressed. Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty! Heaven and earth are full of your glory! Hosanna in the highest! Amen.

“Therefore, God elevated Him to the place of highest honor and gave Him the name above all other names, that at that name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).