King of Kings
At his Coronation King Charles III will be presented with a Bible – which is hand-bound in red leather and decorated in gold leaf. He will place his hand on it when he takes his coronation oath. A Bible has been presented to the monarch this way since the joint coronation of William III and Mary II in 1689.
Archbishop Justin Welby commissioned Oxford University Press (OUP) to produce the work of Christian scriptures which was hand-bound and decorated by London bookbinders Shepherds, Sangorski & Sutcliffe.
The Archbishop said: “The Bible which will be presented to His Majesty the King is a reminder that Scripture is not just at the heart of the responsibilities he undertakes at the Coronation, but at the heart of Christian life.
“On this momentous occasion, the Bible will be the first and most important gift offered to the King. The Scriptures offer a guide and light to all – and I pray that His Majesty will continue to find them in these living words.”
Four copies of the Coronation Bible have been made. The Bible used in the service will be kept in the Lambeth Palace Library.
One will be given to the King as a personal copy, and the other two will be placed in the archives of Westminster Abbey and Oxford University Press.
Perhaps the best-known king in the Bible is King David. He is referred to as a man “after God’s own heart”, and responsible for bringing the nation back to God, for slaying the giant Goliath, and for writing most of the book of Psalms.
The life and rule of David holds a special significance as it was foretold that the Messiah would come from his family as one of his descendants, a prophecy fulfilled in Jesus. As a ruler, David made good decisions and sought after God.
During the Coronation Service the Coronation Regalia (ring, sceptre, rod, orb and crown) will be used, golden objects adorned with diamonds and other precious stones which means that in terms of worldly wealth they are priceless.
The ring is marked with a cross and the other objects are each topped with one, symbolizing the authority of Jesus. Together they remind us that Jesus Christ is king over all.
The phrase king of kings is used in the Bible six times. Once, the title is applied to God the Father (1 Timothy 6:15), and twice to Jesus (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). The other three (Ezra 7:12; Ezekiel 26:7; Daniel 2:37) refer to either Artaxerxes or Nebuchadnezzar, kings who used the phrase to express their absolute sovereignty over their respective realms (Persia and Babylon). The phrase lord of lords is used by itself in the Bible twice and refers to God the Father (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3).
In Revelation 19:16 Jesus is given the full title “King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The title indicates someone who has the power to exercise absolute dominion over all His realm. Jesus was crowned with a crown of thorns not diamonds. On the cross he was forgiving and loving to the end, dying and rising that we might have life in all its fullness.
God the Father,
help us to hear the call of Christ the King
and to follow in his service,
whose kingdom has no end:
for he reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, one glory. Amen.
Living God, you bring us
together in community
and teach us to love one another
as you have loves us.
May we be beacons of your light
in the communities
in which we are set,
that through truth
justice and action
we may see your kingdom
come upon the earth,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.