Operation Golden Orb

Although it sounds like the title of a spy film, Operation Golden Orb is the code name given to the coronation of King Charles III, which is due to take place on 6th May 2023.

Operation Golden Orb

It seems that Royal events which require extensive civic planning are given code names by the relevant authorities.

Coronations in the UK are rare occasions, the last one taking place in 1953 when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned and began her long reign of 70 years and 214 days.

During the ceremony there are items which King Charles will need to hold at some stage in the proceedings, one of them being the Golden Orb referred to in the code name. It is a magnificent object made for King Charles II in 1661, consisting of a hollow gold sphere with a mounted cross, and heavily decorated with 375 pearls, 365 diamonds, eighteen rubies, nine emeralds, nine sapphires, one amethyst and a piece of glass.

The Golden Orb will be placed into the right hand of the King after he puts on the Imperial Robe. The Archbishop of Canterbury will then say: “Receive this orb set under the cross, and remember that the whole world is subject to the Power and Empire of Christ our Redeemer.”

This object and those words may well seem out of place in our modern world. They hearken back to the age of the British Empire which at its zenith in 1913 controlled 25% of the world’s land surface and 23% of the world’s population. It was well described as the Empire upon which the sun never set. Throughout this global empire the Christian Gospel spread and the message of the Cross of Jesus Christ was taken to every corner of the then known world. It must have seemed like the globe had a Cross over it.

However, there is a paradox in the symbolism. The Cross of Jesus and the British Empire had little in common, despite the Christianisation of continents. Military and economic conquest of large areas of the world, for reasons which are debated by historians, is very different from the preaching of the Cross. The Cross of Jesus Christ brings men and women face to face with their sin and need of a Saviour. It is a message of humility, repentance, faith, and service. The benefits of the sacrifice which the Lord Jesus made when He died upon the Cross are essentially spiritual and eternal. True christianity is not a white man’s religion to be imposed upon nations. It is a living relationship between an individual and the living God, based upon repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21).

If the traditional words within the coronation ceremony are repeated by King Charles, they will be strange words for him to utter. Who in the 21st Century believes that humanity is presently subject to the authority of Jesus Christ, or claims Him as its redeemer? As a nation, the United Kingdom does not sound or act as if the Lord Jesus is important, or even relevant, in 2023.

The Bible does speak of a coming day when the world will be a very different place. A lot has yet to happen in God’s redemptive dealings with mankind. Some of these events are prophesied to be catastrophic, changing the geographical, economic, political and moral landscape of the world. Everything is going to change before the world is subject to the rule of Jesus Christ.

It seems impossible to think of that now, with all our advanced technology and philosophical sophistication. But the Bible is clear, the Lord Jesus rose from the dead after His cross death. He ascended back to heaven and there is a day set in the purpose of God when He will return to the earth. His second advent will not be like His first. There will be no manger or shepherds, no wise men or gifts. He will come in the full glorious display of His power. The Bible says that, when He comes, every knee will bow before Him.

“And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11).

“And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives,
Which faces Jerusalem on the east.
And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two,
From east to west,
Making a very large valley;
Half of the mountain shall move toward the north
And half of it toward the south . . .
. . . And the Lord shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall be - “The Lord is one,”
And His name one”
(Zechariah 14:4,9).

That day is coming, but not before 6th May.

As men and women bow the knee before King Charles and he holds the Golden Orb in his hand, remember that there is coming a day when every knee will bow before a Saviour Sovereign, who bears the title of King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).