This is by a new friend, Vic Leon who has been sending these in emails as “lessons”. I am encouraging him to turn them into blogs and/or a book of his amazing inspirational thoughts.
Christ being now arrived at heaven’s doors, those heavenly spirits that accompanied him began to say, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in!” to whom some of the angels that were within, not ignorant of his person, but admiring his majesty and glory, said again, “Who is the King of glory?” and then they answered “The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle,” and thereupon those twelve gates of the holy city, of New Jerusalem, opened of their own accord, and Jesus Christ with all his ministering spirits entered in. O my soul, how should this heighten your joy and enlarge your comforts, in that Christ is now received up into glory! Every sight of Christ is glorious, and in every sight, you should wait on the Lord Jesus Christ for some glorious manifestations of himself. Come, live up to the rate of this great mystery; see Christ, as He enters into His glory, and you will find the same sparkle of glory on your heart. This sight is a transforming sight: “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).
You, who are the living temples of the Lord, and have already entertained his sanctifying Spirit into you, do you “lift up your hearts in the use of holy ordinances through faith, in joyful desires and assured expectation of him”? Are you abundantly “lifted up by faith” in the use of holy means who are the everlasting habitation of an everlasting God, with a joyful and assured welcome of him; for you are invited, and undoubtedly entertain the high and mighty Potentate, the Lord Christ into your souls, with the glorious manifestation and ravishing operation of his love, benefits, and graces. He is the Almighty God, of power all-sufficient to preserve and defend his people and church, that trust him, love and serve him, against all the strength and power of men and devils.
What tongue of the highest archangel of heaven can express the welcome of Christ, the King of glory, into these blessed regions of immortality? God ascended with jubilation and the Lord with the sound of the trumpet. It is not for us, weak and finite creatures, to wish to conceive those incomprehensible, spiritual, divine graces, that the glorious Trinity gave to the victorious and now glorified human nature, when he brought his only-begotten Son into the world, and said, “Let all the angels worship him;” much more now that he, “ascends on high, and hath led captivity captive, hath he given him a name above all names, that at the name of Jesus all knees should bow.” And if the holy angels did so carol at his birth, in the very entrance into that state of humiliation and infirmity, with what triumph did they receive him now returning from the perfect achievement of man’s redemption? How did they sing, “Lift up your heads, ye gates! and be lifted up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.” Surely, as he shall come, so he went; and, “Behold, he shall come with thousands of his holy ones; thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand thousands stood before him;” I hear that blessed applause, “Worthy is the Lamb that was killed, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and praise: praise and honor, and glory, and power, be to him that sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb for evermore.”
If we follow our Redeemer in his ascension and session at the right hand of God, we shall observe the tide of celestial blessedness rise higher and higher still. The return of a great and beloved prince, who should by only hazarding his life, have saved his country, would fill a nation with ecstasy. Their conversation in every company would turn upon him, and all their thoughts and joys concentrate in him. See then the King of kings, after having by death abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light; after spoiling the powers of darkness, and ruining all their schemes; see him return in triumph! There was something like triumph when he entered into Jerusalem. How much greater then must be the triumph of his entry into the heavenly Jerusalem! Would not all the city be “moved” in this case, saying, “Who is this?” See thousands of angels attending him, and ten thousand times ten thousand come forth to meet him!
Why is the song repeated? Why are the everlasting gates invited to “lift up their heads” a second time? What if the repetition of the verse was meant to put us in mind that our Savior’s ascension will be repeated also? He will not indeed die anymore; death can no more have any dominion over him; “there remains no more sacrifice for sin.” Neither of course can he rise again any more. But as he will come again at the end of the world, to judge the quick and the dead, so after that descent, he has to ascend again. And I say, this second ascension may be signified by the psalmist, calling on the everlasting doors to lift up their heads a second time, and make way for the King of glory. Now observe the answer made this second time, “Who is the 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.” Before it was, “the Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle;” now it is “The Lord of hosts.” Christ ascending the first time, to intercede for us at his Father’s right hand, is called “The Lord mighty in battle.” But Christ, ascending the second time, after the world hath been judged, and the good and bad separated for ever, is called “the Lord of hosts.”
Why this difference in his divine titles? It signifies to us the difference between his first and second coming down to earth, his first and second ascension into heaven. As in other respects his first coming was with great humility, so in this, that he came, in all appearance, alone. He showed himself “the Lord mighty in battle,” mighty in that single combat which he, as our champion, victoriously maintained against our great enemy. But when he shall come down and go up the second time, he will show himself “the Lord of hosts.” Instead of coming down alone in mysterious silence, as in his wonderful incarnation, he will be followed by all the armies of heaven. “The Lord my God will come, and all his saints with him.” The Lord comes with ten thousand of his saints. “The Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father, and all the holy angels with him.” Instead of the silence of that quiet chamber at Nazareth, and of the holy Virgin’s womb, there will be the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God accompanying him. Thus, he will come down as the Lord of glory, and as the Lord of hosts, he will ascend again to his Father.
After the judgment, he will pass again through the everlasting doors, with a greater company than before; for he will lead along with him, into the heavenly habitation, all those who shall have been raised from their graves and found worthy. Hear how the awful sight is described by one who will doubtless have a high place in that day near the Judge. “The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).
Come meet a MAN NAMED JESUS, THE KING OF GLORY!