Who is the King of Glory?
The phrase King of glory is found in a series of verses in Psalm 24: “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye 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; even lift them up, ye 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. Selah.” Psalm 24:7–10
The Hebrew word translated “glory” in Psalm 24 is kabod, which means “weight,” but it is used figuratively, as in “his argument carries weight” or “the content of that book is weighty.” Kabad carries a connotation of solemnity and power. Calling God the “King of Glory” means He is the most awesome, most powerful king and should be taken seriously.
Using a type of personification known as apostrophe, the psalmist speaks to the “gates” and the “ancient doors,” calling them to attention and commanding them to “be lifted up” or raised to admit the King of glory. However lofty these ancient doors are, they must be loftier still to admit such an august presence as the Lord Himself.
There is a connection to be made between the King of glory in Psalm 24 and the Shekinah glory in Exodus 33. When God gave Moses instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant, He said, “And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.” Leviticus 16:2.
The mercy seat was to be seen as God’s “throne” on earth (2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1; 99:1). And it was from the mercy seat that God spoke to Moses: “There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the covenant law, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites” Exodus 25:22
Psalm 24 pictures the coming of the King of glory in a time of celebration. Given the Hebrew association of the cloud of glory with the Ark of the Covenant, Psalm 24 was written to commemorate the entrance of the Ark into Jerusalem during David’s time (2 Samuel 6:12–17) or into the temple during Solomon’s time (2 Chronicles 5:7). The King of glory came through the gates of Jerusalem and through the doors of the temple with a great procession as the Ark of the Covenant was brought to its permanent home on Mt. Zion.
Jesus is called “the Lord of glory” in 1 Corinthians 2:8. His entrance into Jerusalem amid the shouts of a jubilant crowd (Matthew 21) could be seen as another fulfillment of Psalm 24. Jesus is the One with “clean hands and a pure heart” who can “ascend the mountain of the Lord” (Psalm 24:3–4). Jesus “will receive blessing from the Lord” (verse 5). Jesus is the “King of glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (verse 8).