Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? Who shall stand in his holy place? Jesus – for it is only the Christ who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. Before the fall, Adam was able to go up the hill of the LORD, which was the Garden of Eden (c.f. Ezekiel 28:11-15, where we see a description of Satan before the fall. He was the guardian cherub in the Garden, and even in Eden he was able to walk on the holy mount of God. It seems before the entrance of sin, the whole creation (heaven and earth) was joined together and the inhabitants of Eden had access to the mount of God). But now, it is the Second Adam who shall ascend this hill.
Jesus will receive blessing from the Father and righteousness from He who saves the Promised One. Are we of the generation of those who seek the One, to seek Christ, who is the visible of the invisible One (Colossians 1)?
O ancient gates, be lifted up that Jesus, the King of glory, may enter (v.7; c.f. NIV translation – “everlasting” doors, indicative of the doors of the City of God)! Jesus is this King of glory – He is the LORD, strong and mighty, the LORD, mighty in battle! Be lifted up ancient gates that Jesus may enter, He who is the LORD of hosts and the King of glory (c.f. Isaiah 41; John 17).
Paul Blackham comments from his Book by Book study on Psalms:
It has been thought by some that this psalm was composed and sung when the Ark of the Covenant was lifted up and brought to Jerusalem by King David (1 Chronicles 15:29-16:3). There is a lot to be said for this, especially when we look back to how Moses reacted whenever the Ark of the Covenant was lifted up during the journeys in the wilderness – Numbers 10:35 – “Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, ‘Rise up, O LORD! May Your enemies be scattered; may Your foes flee before You.'”
Those words of Moses are expanded into an entire psalm by David, Psalm 68, which describes the ascension of Jesus Christ after His death and resurrection (see Ephesians 4:8-13). This makes it clear that Moses saw the lifting up of the Ark of the Covenant as a symbolic prophecy of the ascension of Christ. Whenever the Ark was lifted up, he looked ahead to the day when Christ would be lifted up to the right hand of His Father in heaven after being brought down so low in His birth, life and death.
So, it might well be that when David also lifted up the Ark and brought it in procession to the earthly Jerusalem, he saw that it was a symbolic prophecy of the day when Christ would be lifted up and led in joyful procession to the right hand of His Father in the heavenly Jerusalem, the City of God. Given the deep prophetic knowledge of David that we saw in Psalm 22, we would expect this psalm to be similar.
However, we are not told exactly when this psalm was written or the circumstances when it was first sung. The one thing that is clear is that it is a psalm prophesying the ascension of Jesus Christ.
Christopher Wordsworth said of this psalm that the universe “is Christ’s, by creation (John 1:1-2), and it is His by resurrection (Matthew 28:18), and His by His glorious ascension into heaven where He is enthroned King of the world in His human nature.”