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Seven Stunning Biblical Symbols You’ll See at the Coronation of King Charles III

The Orb

While reporting on the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, CBS News could not help but make reference to something called an “orb.”

They had no choice, because the strange ball-shaped object was sitting precariously on the top of the coffin. It was an elephant in the room. So, CBS News remarked: “The orb, also known as the Sovereign’s Orb, is presented to the monarch during their coronation…. It is meant to remind the monarch that their power is derived from God.”

The orb was originally made for Charles II’s coronation way back in 1661. It’s about 12 inches wide, and it’s a hollow gold sphere mounted with nine emeralds, 18 rubies, nine sapphires, 365 diamonds, and 375 pearls. The cross above the globe represents “Christ’s dominion over the world.” When the Archbishop of Canterbury places it into the king’s right hand, he says, “Receive this orb set under the cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the Power and Empire of Christ our Redeemer.”

The Scepter

The scepter is reminiscent of the rod that Moses held in his hand. It is also under the cross, and it represents the king’s temporary power and the importance of governing in righteousness. As it’s handed to the king, the archbishop says, “Receive the rod of Equity and Mercy.” “Equity” carries with it the concept of judging without partiality, prejudice, or bias.

The Bible says: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom” (Psalm 45:6, ASV, emphasis added).

The Swords

Three swords are carried in front of the king as he enters Westminster Abbey. Two of them are the blunt Sword of Mercy and the sharp Sword of Justice.

The blunt sword is symbolic of God’s mercy in the gospel, and the sharp sword reminds us of the terrible wrath of God that will be revealed on Judgment Day. As the hymn writer says, “He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword…”

The Trumpets

Trumpets should be used sparingly. When a bride arrives at a wedding, it is a celebrated occasion, but to use trumpets to announce her would be inappropriate. Not so with the coronation of a king. When David gave instructions regarding the coronation of Solomon, he said to herald it with a trumpet.

And so, while trumpets herald the coronation of earthly kings, in reality these are symbolically heralding the coming of the one the Scriptures call the King of kings.

The Coronation Chair

The Coronation Chair is a very old wooden chair on which British monarchs sit when they are crowned at their coronations in Westminster Abbey.

A total of 26 monarchs have been crowned on that old wooden chair since it was commissioned way back in 1296. Underneath its seat sits a very strange and ancient stone known as the “Stone of Scone.”

The Anointing

When planning the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, there was talk of allowing television cameras into Westminster Abby.

Winston Churchill was horrified at the thought. He told the House of Commons, “It would be unfitting that the whole ceremony, not only in its secular but also in its religious and spiritual aspects, should be presented as if it were a theatrical performance.”

“As we watch the splendor of the coronation of an earthly king, we must never forget that all this pageantry is nothing but a very, very faint shadow of the unspeakable glory that is to come.”

But the coronation was broadcast. All of it…except for one very sacred moment. That moment was when the queen was anointed with oil, which is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. It was considered so extraordinary that it was decreed it must remain out of sight. All this is symbolic of Almighty God disrobing Himself, becoming a lowly human being in the person of Jesus Christ, and being anointed by the Holy Spirit.

The Crown

The crown is the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Different crowns have been used to crown British monarchs since the 13th century.

More than nine centuries later, believers eagerly watch the signs of the times and wait for the coming of Jesus Christ—the King of Kings and Lord of Lords—to whom every knee will bow, and they pray for the hastening of that coming kingdom:

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

As we watch the splendor of the coronation of an earthly king, we must never forget that all this pageantry is nothing but a very, very faint shadow of the unspeakable glory that is to come:

“…and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33).

Condensed from Defender of the Faith by Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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