The King Is Coming
(7) Lift up your heads, O gates! Be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! (8) Who (is) this King of glory? Yahweh, strong and mighty, Yahweh, mighty in battle. (9) Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in! (10) Who (is) he, this King of glory? Yahweh Sabbaoth (of hosts), he (is) the King of glory. (Selah)
The most striking feature in this second segment of the psalm is the almost word-for-word repetition of verses 7 & 8 in verses 9 & 10, emphasizing the coming of the King of glory. In our day the closest parallel to this kind of celebration might be the cheering that goes on in a football stadium when the home team runs on to the playing field with everyone standing and shouting at the top of their lungs to welcome them.
Two issues that demand our attention involve the what and the when. What occasion did David have in mind and when did it or will it take place? To what “grand entrance” of the King of glory do these striking words refer? Some speculate that this psalm was written to celebrate David’s returning the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem to take up residence in its rightful place (2 Sam. 6). Others feel that it was sung at the dedication of the temple when Solomon placed the Ark in the building he had constructed to serve as Yahweh’s permanent dwelling place (1 Kings 8). Still others view this passage as a prophecy of Christ’s Second Coming. Both Zephaniah 3:14-21 and Zechariah 14 speak of a great and glorious future day when the Messiah, Israel’s king, shall return to enter Jerusalem to rule over the whole earth. What a glorious day that will be! Will we be ready to welcome him when he appears?
I. Preparing for the coming of the King of glory (7 & 9)
II. Identifying the coming King: Yahweh Sabaoth (8 & 10)
We must be prepared to welcome Yahweh, the King of glory, when he appears.
The Scriptures indicate that the Lord’s coming is always an unexpected event that catches everyone by surprise. This was true at the Incarnation, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Few knew and few seemed to care except some lowly shepherds who had been informed by the angels’ appearance (Lk. 2:1-20) and a group of Magi, astrologers who had followed his star from Babylon (Mt. 2:1-12). It was true later in his life when Jesus approached Jerusalem just before his crucifixion. While many lined the streets for his so-called triumphal entry, the same crowds that had welcomed him on Sunday would, by the end of the week, be calling for his crucifixion. Tragically, they put to death the one who had come to give them life.
When the Lord returns in power and great glory, he will again arrive unexpectedly. Most of the world’s population will be unpleasantly surprised when the King of kings shows up to ascend his throne and rule. In Matthew 25 we find Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins, five who were ready for the bridegroom and five who were completely unprepared. The warning Jesus gave is one that all of us should take to heart: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour [when your Lord may come]” (Mt. 25:13). What if Messiah were to return to earth suddenly today? Would we be ready to welcome him and rejoice at his coming or would we, like most everyone else, be totally unprepared for his appearing?