The Height of a Throne Communicates
We may build a palace with a throne room, or a cathedral that seems majestic and massive, but our biggest or highest structures are like little ant hills. An ant must view his surroundings with his size in mind and considers his adversaries in a similar way. Some enemies are attacked, and others are avoided. Kings do something similar. It seems unlikely for a king or queen to sit on a throne that would communicate submission. Royalty sits above everyone else in the room.
King Solomon communicated several things when he had his throne constructed. In 1 Kings chapter 10 a description of the throne says, “The king also made a great ivory throne and overlaid it with the finest gold. The throne had six steps, and the throne had a round top, and on each side of the seat were armrests and two lions standing beside the armrests, while twelve lions stood there, one on each end of a step on the six steps. The like of it was never made in any kingdom.” (v.18-20) When Solomon ascended his throne, everyone else was below him. He had the best chair and the lions made it clear his was a place of power.
A Higher Throne
Solomon’s throne was amazing, but God declares in Isaiah 66:1 that his throne is heaven and he puts his figurative “feet” on earth as his footstool. The imagery is clear and certain. We are smaller than ants. Our entire planet is a footstool.
“Thus says the Lord: ‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool; what is the house that you would build for me, and what is the place of my rest?’” Isaiah 66:1 ESV
In the next two verses he continues, “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” God is saying you can’t make anything except from the things he already made.
Furthermore, anything you bring to him or build for him is inadequate for who he is. You and I can’t even build a footstool worthy of his “feet.” But God says we can approach him with humility and a recognition that it is only his grace and mercy that can gain us entrance. We must tremble at his word. We must accept his promise of salvation by grace through faith. That is the gospel.
Stephen understood this when he preached to the people in his day. Acts 7 records his sermon, which is a miniature history lesson of God’s promises and God’s working for those he chose. Many didn’t like God’s message in the Old Testament, and they didn’t like Stephen’s reminders. They killed Stephen for telling them the truth about their pride and bold refusal to accept God’s promised Messiah. Stephen understood there was a higher throne. He declared that Jesus was the rightful King that they were rejecting. What folly to try to stop God by killing just one of his servants.
Everyone Has Disobeyed the King as stiff-necked rebels
“Our fathers had the tent of witness in the wilderness, just as he who spoke to Moses directed him to make it, according to the pattern that he had seen. Our fathers in turn brought it in with Joshua when they dispossessed the nations that God drove out before our fathers. So it was until the days of David, who found favor in the sight of God and asked to find a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says,
“‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.”
Killing the Messenger from the Throne
Acts 7 continues with their response to the truth Stephen presented: “Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
There is a Higher Throne
This song by the Getty’s is one of my favorites. The ones made faultless through the Lamb, Jesus, will be part of a bigger celebration at the Higher Throne. Listen to it at this link: THERE IS A HIGHER THRONE
There is A Higher Throne – Words & music by KEITH & KRISTYN GETTY.