By Henry Law
Jesus ascends in triumph to His throne in heaven. May we in spirit ascend there, and with Him continually dwell!
1, 2. "The earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and those who dwell there; for He has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods."
A noble chorus ushers in this ode of triumph. Loud acclamations tell that God is the great Creator, the sovereign owner of the universe. Language contains not a grander sentence than the words first seen upon the Bible-page, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." He commanded the dry land to appear, and to rest on subsiding waters as its supporting column. All nations who throng its surface, all animal and vegetable life, all its rich treasures, all its lovely beauty, receive their being from His word. He spoke and they were made. His rightful lordship is indisputable. We are His, and He made us. With what lowly reverence should we bow before Him! How meekly should we yield to His supremacy! How constant should our efforts be to glorify Him with body, soul, and spirit, which are His!
3. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place?"
He who pervades all space, whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere, is represented to our minds as reigning in an especial palace. An earthly city was the type of this heavenly abode. The hill of Zion which received the Ark was symbol of His presence. Therefore the inquiry, Who shall live and reign forever with the Lord? is aptly symbolized by asking, Who shall mount the hill of Zion, and have firm footing in the holy place? How studiously should we examine our claim to such felicity.
4, 5, 6. "He who has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul to 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 those who seek Him, who seek Your face, O Jacob."
It is a grand and everlasting truth, "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." His dwelling is essential purity. No speck of sin can enter where He dwells. Therefore no one who ever breathed life's breath or trod this earth, except Jesus, can enter by His own right and in His own name. His hands alone were never stained by sin. His heart alone was one home of unsullied purity. No vain things had attraction for His mind. No deceit defiled His spirit. He had full claims to all the blessings of the New Jerusalem. Justly He receives His due.
But this blessedness belongs not only to the Head; His members share with Him. All who by faith are one with Him, all who constitute His body, are clean, and pure, and righteous, even as He is. His all-cleansing blood forever washes out their many sins. His glorious righteousness is reckoned as their very own. His indwelling Spirit wholly sanctifies their inner man. Therefore through grace they shall ascend the holy hill; hence they shall stand within the holy place. This is the chosen generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the peculiar people. The Spirit helping, they seek the Lord with all the heart, even the face of the great God of Jacob.
7. "Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."
The Spirit here exhibits a wonderful picture of our Lord's triumphal ascent. We are taught to see Him drawing near attended by multitudes of the heavenly host. He reaches the gates of the eternal citadel. Admittance is demanded; the portals are summoned to fly open. The gates so barred against rebellious man are now commanded to lift their heads. It is announced that the King of glory stands outside.
8. "Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle."
The guardians of the portals are represented as responding. They must be certified of the claim of Him who thus draws near. They ask, Proclaim His name, His purpose, and His right. Why is He free to enter? A ready answer cries, "The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle." Jesus has returned; He went forth strong in the might of His omnipotence to do battle against Satan and hell, and death and the grave. The fight is fought, the victory is won. All enemies are dashed to pieces. He is here, dragging the captives fast bound to His victorious wheels; He comes crowned with all conquest. Admit Him. The crown is His by right of Satan's empire demolished. The exulting challenge is repeated.
9. "Lift up your heads, O you gates; even lift them up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in."
The inquiry, the response, are still the same.
10. "Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, He is the King of glory."
Look, He is enthroned on the right hand of the Majesty on high. May our poor hearts lift up their heads! May He there sit and rule, and reign forever!