Author and Christian apologist Ray Comfort says the coronation of King Charles III will be filled with biblical symbols and imagery that reflect the rich religious history of the monarchy, but that also can be used by believers as a "bridge" for gospel-centric conversations.
"He'll hold the royal scepter as Solomon held the royal center. And when he's crowned, as was Solomon, all the people will cry, 'God save the king,'" Comfort said.
Additionally, Charles "will lay his right hand on the Bible and swear before God to uphold the Scriptures," Comfort said.
Comfort's Living Waters ministry partnered with other ministries to print 15 million coronation-themed gospel tracts that include a photo of King Charles. Comfort also wrote a book, Defender of the Faith: 10 Weird Facts About the Coronation.
Millions around the globe, Comfort said, will watch the coronation, which Comfort describes as a "church service."
"In Acts 17 the Apostle Paul quoted sinful Greek poets to make a bridge to reach his hearers," Comfort noted. "We are doing the same with the upcoming coronation of King Charles."
Here are seven biblical symbols that will be seen in King Charles III's coronation:
1. The Orb
"The orb was originally made for Charles II's coronation way back in 1661," Comfort wrote. "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 charity Historic Royal Palaces says the orb "reminds the monarch that their power is derived from God."
A cross atop the globe represents "Christ's dominion over the world," Comfort wrote.
"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.'"
Did you know that during the May 6th Coronation of King Charles, while being watched by a live audience of hundreds of millions around the world, he will be given a diamond encrusted golden ball called an “Orb”? The Archbishop of Canterbury will then say, “Receive this orb set… pic.twitter.com/dw2CIRpXaa— Ray Comfort (@RayComfort) April 27, 2023
2. The Golden Scepter
The scepter has "been used at every coronation since Charles II's in 1661," according to the charity Historic Royal Palaces. The scepter includes a 530.2-carat diamond, the Cullinan I diamond, the largest colorless cut diamond in the world, the charity said.
"It represents," Comfort wrote, "the king's temporary power and his obligation to govern in righteousness – just as scripture says of God, '….a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom' (Hebrews 1:8). Remember how Esther was to be put to death if the king didn't extend his golden Scepter towards her (see Esther 4:11, Esther 5:2). The golden Scepter is symbolic of the cross of Jesus Christ."
Comfort added, "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."
Did you know that during the May 6th Coronation of King Charles, while being watched by a live audience of hundreds of millions around the world, he will be given a golden Scepter? It represents the king’s temporary power and his obligation to govern in righteousness—just as… pic.twitter.com/1y2mTGNaaa— Ray Comfort (@RayComfort) April 28, 2023
"When a bride arrives at a wedding it's a celebrated occasion. But to use trumpets to announce her arrival wouldn't be appropriate. Not so with the coronation of a king," Comfort wrote. "David instructed the use of a trumpet to herald the coronation of Solomon. It has to be something big, to announce it with the trumpet."
He added, "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."
When a bride arrives at a wedding it’s a celebrated occasion. But to use trumpets to announce her arrival wouldn’t be appropriate. Not so with the coronation of a king. David instructed the use of a trumpet to herald the coronation of Solomon. It has to be something big, to… pic.twitter.com/luWUG6qWy7— Ray Comfort (@RayComfort) April 30, 2023
Swords will be carried in front of King Charles III as he enters Westminster Abbey.
"One is a blunt sword, speaking of the mercy of the gospel. Another is a sharp sword, symbolic of Judgment Day," Comfort wrote. "As the hymn writer says, 'He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword…'"
Did you know that during the May 6th Coronation of King Charles, while being watched by a live audience of hundreds of millions around the world, a number of swords will be carried in front of the king as he enters Westminster Abbey? One is a blunt sword, speaking of the mercy of… pic.twitter.com/UWM9SetKXa— Ray Comfort (@RayComfort) April 29, 2023
5. The Anointing
King Charles III will be anointed with oil, "which is symbolic of the anointing of the Holy Spirit," Comfort wrote. Kings in the Old Testament were announced with oil.
The anointing of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 was not broadcast on television.
"It was considered so extraordinary that it was decreed it must remain out of sight," Comfort wrote. "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."
6. The Crown
The crown is "symbolic of the dominion of King Charles III, especially as defender of the faith," Comfort said.
"The crown is the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom," Comfort wrote. "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."
7. 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," Comfort wrote.
It has been used since the 1200s. Underneath the chair is an ancient stone known as the "Stone of Scone." According to legend, the stone "was used by the biblical figure Jacob as a pillow when he dreamed of a ladder reaching to heaven and then brought to Scotland by way of Egypt, Spain and Ireland," History.com reported.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Brandon Bell/Staff
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.