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What Does it Mean That God Is the King of Glory?

The phrase “King of Glory” is found in a series of verses in Psalm 24:7-10. The Hebrew word glory in Psalm 24 is kabod, which means weight is used figuratively to mean “his argument carries weight,” or even “the content of that book is weighty.” Kabad carries the meaning of solemnity and power. To call God the King of Glory means the Lord alone is awesome, a powerful King, and to be taken seriously.

Dave Jenkins
What Does it Mean That God Is the King of Glory?

The King of Glory and the Shekinah Glory

To get a better grasp of the King of Glory, we need to understand the connections between Psalm 24 and the King of glory and the Shekinah glory in Exodus 33. When the Lord gave Moses instructions for building the Ark of the Covenant, He said in Leviticus 16:2, “I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover [mercy seat].” The mercy seat is the place of the glorious throne of God on earth (2 Samuel 6:2; Psalm 80:1; 99:1). It was from the mercy seat that the Lord spoke to Moses in Exodus 25:22, “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.”

Psalm 24 and the Ark of the Covenant

Psalm 24 pictures the coming King of glory in a time of celebration. The Psalmist has in mind here the cloud of glory with the Ark of Covenant. Such a celebration was to commemorate the entrance of the Ark into Jerusalem during David’s reign (2 Samuel 6:12-17) or into the temple during Solomon’s reign (2 Chronicles 5:7). The King of glory came through the gates of Jerusalem or through the temple doors with a great procession as the Ark of the Covenant was brought to its permanent home on Mount Zion.  

Jesus, the King of Glory

In 1 Corinthians 2:8, Jesus is called “the Lord of glory.” Jesus, upon entering Jerusalem, experienced the shouts of an excited crowd (Matthew 21) in fulfillment of Psalm 24. Jesus comes with “clean hands and a pure heart” who alone can “ascend the mountain of the Lord” (Psalm 24:3-4). Jesus alone “will receive blessing from the Lord (Psalm 24:5) because He is the “King of glory, the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle” (Psalm 24:8).

James and the Glory of God

In James 2:1, James refers to Jesus as “the Lord of glory.” James, being from a Jewish background, knew the Hebrew term kabod when he penned his epistle. When the Old Testament declares the Lord is glorious (1 Chronicles 29:13), the biblical writer has in mind the weight or importance of the Lord’s name. The Lord being glorious, means nothing is greater or more important than Him, and no one deserves the honor more than the Lord. 

The Incarnation of Jesus and the Glory of God

In the Old Covenant, the central way the Lord manifested the glory of God was in a cloud (Exodus 16:10; 1 Kings 8:10). While we don’t know what the glory cloud looked like, we get some impression that the light it emitted was unique because the same cloud directed Israel through the wilderness when they left Egypt (Nehemiah 9:12). Many of us associate the glory cloud with this bright light because, in Scripture, light is often associated with glory (Revelation 21:23). 

The Incarnation of the glory of God is the person and work of the Lord Jesus (John 1:14). The vision of the glory of God in Christ is one that will fill the new heavens and earth. When Jesus walked the earth, the glory of God was hidden from plain view and only visible in a few brief moments to only a few select of His disciples (Luke 9:28-36). In the New Jerusalem, all who love and serve the Lord Jesus will get to see the glory of God (Revelation 21).

We cannot know the fullness of all the glory of God and what it will look like on this side of heaven. Even so, the various descriptions of the glory of God in Scripture give indicators that it will be beyond description and the most beautiful sight the people of God will experience in heaven. All of the beauty and goodness in the present are nothing in comparison to the glory of God. 

What Does This Mean?

As we think of the glory of God, let us remember the King of Glory, He who is radiant in splendor, and mighty in power who created man in His image and likeness. Through Christ, the image of God marred by the Fall is being restored and renewed through the gospel. Through the gospel, the image of God in man is being restored in the present through the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, and the Kingdom of God expanded through the preaching of the Word. On the final day of the Lord, the present will give away to the future, and the Kingdom will be brought to its fullness with man entirely like the Lord in heaven worshipping the King of glory before the face of Jesus Himself.

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Dave Jenkins is the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and the Host of the Equipping You in Grace Podcast and Warriors of Grace Podcast. He received his MAR and M.Div. through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. You can follow him on Twitter at @davejjenkins, find him on Facebook at Dave Jenkins SOGInstagram, read more of his writing at Servants of Grace, or sign to receive his newsletter. When Dave isn’t busy with ministry, he loves spending time with his wife, Sarah, reading the latest from Christian publishers, the Reformers, and the Puritans, playing golf, watching movies, sports, and spending time with his family.

Originally published February 13, 2020.