People of the ancient world were familiar with the throne as a symbol of kingly power. A king usually sat on his throne when officiating at important ceremonies, when receiving homage or petitions from his people, or when making legal judgments (1 Kings 2:19; 2 Kings 11:19; Esther 5:1; Prov 20:8). Often such thrones were lavishly adorned, befitting the majesty of the king in his exalted position (1 Kings 10:18-20). God is repeatedly pictured in the Bible as the supreme Lord, the king and ruler of the universe who is high and lifted up, exalted on his throne. The angelic guardians of his throne are the cherubim, sometimes called ‘living creatures’ (Ps 80:1; 93:1-5; Isa 6:1-3; Ezek 1:22,26; 10:20-22; Matt 5:34; Rev 4:2,6; 5:11- 14; see CHERUBIM). The lid of the ark of the covenant in the tabernacle was a symbolic throne for the invisible God. Although sinful people have no right to enter God’s presence, God in his mercy allows them to approach him in faith and so receive his forgiveness and help. His throne is therefore called a seat of mercy, a throne of grace (Exod 25:18; 1 Sam 4:4; Heb 4:16; 9:5; see TABERNACLE). Jesus Christ, having come into the world and having lived obediently to his Father even to death, has now been exalted to the highest place in heaven.

This is signified by his being seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Phil 2:6-11; Heb 12:2). He, as the great high priest, is the believer’s mediator before God in heaven, bringing the believer’s real desires to the throne of God (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:24-25; 8:1). The throne symbolizes rule and authority. Jesus Christ, therefore, in being pictured as seated on his throne, is King of kings and Lord of lords. He fulfils the promise given to David of a descendant who would sit on David’s throne and rule for ever (2 Sam 7:12-16; Isa 11:1-9; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30-33; Heb 1:8; Rev 19:16; see KING; MESSIAH). Believers in Jesus will share his reign with him (Matt 19:28; Rev 3:21). But the throne is also a place of judgment, where God will make the final separation between the righteous and the wicked (Matt 25:31-32; Rev 20:11-12; see JUDGMENT).

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