The theme of God's throne is found throughout Scripture. It is a central location from which God reveals himself. What is the significance of his throne? What are the implications for your life?
The Theme of God's Throne
Isaiah 40:21-22 - Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood since the earth was founded? He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers. He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in.
We know that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth Genesis 1:1. In what position did he create everything from? He was seated on his throne "above the circle of the earth." God was ruling and reigning over the cosmos from the very beginning. What does this mean? First, the entire universe belongs to him. He is personally invested in every part of his creation. "For everything was created by him and for him." Colossians 1:16 God has always had an intentional hand in ruling over this universe. As the king, he cares for his kingdom. He protects it and provides for it.
Some think (Deists) that the Creator sent this world spinning into space on its own, much like a watchmaker winds up a watch and lets it go. But, this is not the God of the Bible. From his throne he is actively involved in every part of his kingdom. In fact, that God is even enthroned in our midst reveals that he wants to be close to us. Let's take a look…
God Comes Close
"This is what the Lord says: 'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?'" Isaiah 66:1 Although God is larger than the universe (for he created it), he still looks for a place that he can "rest" among us. Though the earth is technically his footstool, he wants to sit down on that footstool. He limits himself to be knowable by us. And he does this by sitting on his throne among us.
After freeing his people from Egypt, God gave Moses the plans for his house while they talked on Mount Sinai. Instructions were given to Moses for a simple, yet purposeful and beautiful structure that God would come to live in. This was called the tabernacle. It was actually a tent. The children of Israel were living in tents at this time. So too, God desired to be with his people in a tent.
Inside the tent of God was a throne. God said to Moses, "There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites." Exodus 25:22 God chose the ark of the Testimony as his throne. From this place that had been prepared with the sprinkling of blood from the altar of atonement, God revealed himself as king. He graciously loved and fathered his people as king. He even spoke with Moses "face to face, as a man speaks with his friend." Exodus 33:11
Israel Rejects God's Throne
Later in Israelite history, the people rejected God as their king. They despised his throne. This very throne, the ark, was treated as a lucky charm and then promptly stolen by the enemy. Then, the Israelites wanted a different kind of king and a different kind of throne. They desired something that all the other nations had - a physical king. What a reckless and ridiculous move! They traded a perfect and loving king for an insecure and demonized human (king Saul).
King David, who was a man after God's heart Acts 13:22 brought the ark back to Jerusalem. God's throne was again established. Much celebration and dancing accompanied this huge event. 2 Samuel 6:14-15
God continued on in his resolve to be close to his people. He raised up Solomon to build him a temple, much like the tabernacle in earlier years. The temple was to be God's dwelling place. And what a magnificent structure it was. Solomon's temple took seven years to complete. It was made of stone and timber and filled with the finest gold and silver. When the time was right, the glory of God filled the temple. 1 Kings 8:10-11 God was present on the throne in the center of his people.
Yet, even during Solomon's reign, the throne of God was desecrated. Led astray by his rebellious choices, Solomon brought idol worship with full force into the Israelite nation. God was no longer on the throne. Man (through Solomon) usurped the throne and worshiped himself.
The following history of the kings tells the dark tale of the Israelites refusal to acknowledge God as king. They continually profaned God's throne through their idol worship. There are some glimmers of hope when godly kings took the throne and pointed people back to God. But mostly, God's throne was ignored and greatly despised.
God Remains on the Throne
In the midst of the Israelite idol-worship, the prophet Isaiah had a vision of God's throne. Isaiah 6:1-6 It is true that though people did not acknowledge his kingship, God still remained on his throne. The vision that Isaiah had was that of this massive, holy and fearsome God who was rightly being worshiped by the angels. In the presence of the holy King, Isaiah recognized his own unholiness. With incredible mercy, God cleansed Isaiah of his sin and gave him great purpose.
The King Comes Even Closer
In light of Israel's rejection of God's throne, one would think that God would come to earth and deal with his rebellious subjects. Instead, God comes even closer to his people, as he sends his Son to earth. Jesus was not the kind of king that the people expected. He wept over the unbelief of his people. Luke 19:41-42 Jesus came in humility as he rode a donkey into Jerusalem… hardly the picture of a human conquering king. Luke 19:32-35 And then this king, Jesus, sacrificed himself for his people through his death on the cross.
After Jesus rose from the dead, he ascended into heaven. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father. Colossians 3:1 After Jesus went to the lowest possible point for us, he was exalted by his Father to the highest place. Philippians 2:6-11 Father and Son are on the throne. Yet, still many reject this good and sacrificial King.
The King of Heaven and Earth
This theme of the God's throne can be traced from the beginning of time to the end time. For one day in heaven we will be gathered around his throne. The Lamb of God (Jesus) will be seated on the throne, and people from every nation, tribe and tongue will be worshiping him.
Revelation 7:9-10 says, "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: 'Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.'”
Make God's Throne the Center of Your Life
In heaven the fitting response to God on his throne will be worship and complete surrender to him. But we don't have to wait for heaven to respond appropriately. Today, we are called recognize his throne and maintain its purity in our lives. This means we need to live with the clear sense that God is king, and we are not. Our goal should not be to establish our little kingdoms (our dreams and desires). Rather, we should be about proclaiming the King and his kingdom. When God's throne is at the center of our lives, everything gets re-prioritized. And everything makes sense.
Don't let God's throne be ignored, or even worse, despised in your life. Without his throne at the center, you opt for a life of pain and ultimate destruction. The picture that we see in heaven can be ours today. Make God the king in your life.
Revelation 22:1-5 - Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Missionary. Teacher. Worship Leader. Deeply desiring to make God's Word accessible and understandable to all. May you be transformed as God's Word fills your life.