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Who Is This King of Glory?

God’s Glory in Psalm 24

4 min

Psalm 24 is a triumphant description of the Lord Jesus Christ as the King of Glory. Although most of these chapter “songs” stand alone, unconnected in theme or progression to the psalms around them, several places have “clusters” of related anthems. One notable, famous example of such a group is the Psalms of Degrees or the Psalms of Ascent from Psalms 120–134. Another easily discernible cluster is the Hallels, from Psalms 113–118.

Psalms 22, 23, and 24 are all strongly Messianic in theme and show an exquisite, complete picture of the coming work of the Lord Jesus Christ. This little cluster of three Messianic Psalms has been outlined by many Bible scholars in this memorable way:

  • Psalm 22: The Cross—The atoning work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary
  • Psalm 23: The Crook—The abiding work of Jesus as our Good Shepherd
  • Psalm 24: The Crown—The ultimate reign of Jesus as the King of Glory

Psalm 24 begins with a statement of universal dominion. “The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods” (verses 1–2). As Creator and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus holds the title deed to this planet. He owns the world, and He owns all that lives upon it. His dominion stretches “from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72:8). All upon the land and all within the sea is His!

The psalmist then progresses to describe the redeemed saints who rejoice under His reign and partake of His blessings. “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah” (verses 3–6).

The full counsel of Scripture makes it very clear that those who have “clean hands” and “a pure heart” are those who have been washed clean of sin and made pure by the shed blood of Jesus. No man is or can ever make himself pure in and of himself. Only by the atoning death of the Christ described in Psalm 22 and by the guiding hand of the Good Shepherd described in Psalm 23 can we receive the blessings described in Psalm 24.

The psalmist continued in verse 8 by asking a question of eternal importance: “Who is this King of glory?” The context of the psalm has already stated that the earth belongs to Jehovah. Clearly, the Lord Jesus, the Savior of Psalm 22 and the Shepherd of Psalm 23, is the King of Glory. But the psalmist was asking more than merely His identity. What are His attributes? What is He like? How will He come? In what way will we know Him? How ought we to receive Him, honor Him, and glorify Him? Who is this One, the King of Glory?

Immediately, the psalmist answered his own question in the same verse: “The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.” The image given was of a city welcoming its king returning, victorious in battle! The Apostle Paul used this same picture of the glorious day. In Philippians 2:10–11, Paul wrote that “every knee should bow . . . every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

In Biblical times, when a king approached a city loyal to him, the elders of that place would stream out from the city gates to welcome their ruler into their presence. The gates were thrown wide to give a warm and joyous welcome. On the other hand, a rebellious city would bar the gates of the city in defiance of the king. This practice explains why the disciples James and John wanted to call down fire from heaven (see Luke 9:54) on the Samaritan city that would not receive Jesus!

In the rare and most extreme display of submission and welcome, the elders of a receptive city would remove the massive city gates from their hinges and lay them down in front of the walls. This action emphasized the city’s affirming their joyous welcome to the coming king. This glorious image is portrayed for us here in the text of Psalm 24: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; even lift them up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (verse 9).

What a triumphant day that will be! The kings of earth will throw open their gates to the returning King of Kings and Lord of Lords as He rides in triumph to claim His dominions! On that day, the redeemed of the Lord will shout “Hosanna” again! The sea will roar! The rocks will cry out! Even the trees of the forest will clap their hands! All creation will welcome Christ, the King of Glory!

The psalmist ends with a repetition of the question and then the answer. “Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah” (verse 10). One day, our eyes shall behold “the King in His beauty” (Isaiah 33:17). Until that day, we, as His redeemed people and as heralds of our returning King, should be proclaiming His glory. Let us tell of His triumphs and sing His praises! Let us ever glorify the name of the Lord Jesus, the King of Glory! And let us ever be watching and waiting for His sure return!

This article is from our Matters of Life & Death teaching series.

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