The highlight of Christmas for our kids, especially when they were small, has been our trip north to visit their grandparents. Grammie and Papa Moose live in a tiny town that barely makes it on the map. Don’t picture houses lining streets with stop lights and street lamps – this town is just a handful of cottages around a lake, with a population of less than 30 people.
Even when our kids were little, we would pack the van to the roof with all our things – Christmas gifts, toboggans, hockey equipment and all our winter gear – and we would make the 8 hour trek north to a winter wonderland. It feels like an old fashioned Christmas every year. With snowbanks as high as the roof of the house, evergreen trees laden with snow, and temperatures dipping well below freezing, it is magical.
Every year Papa Moose clears off a section of the lake and makes an ice rink, which lends itself to hours and hours of hockey fun every day. There is a great sledding hill right next to the ice rink, so when we get tired of skating we pile onto toboggans, making a train, and race down the hill.
Most years we hike through the bush in search of the perfect Christmas tree, the kids chop it down and Daddy hauls it back to the house. Mornings dawn with that beautiful soft light filtering through the snowy trees and we feed the birds and the fox that comes before heading off to his den to sleep. On those particularly cold mornings, you can open the front door, throw a glass of water into the air and it instantly freezes and turns into a mist that floats away. Evenings are spent next to a crackling fire and the twinkling light of the Christmas tree with popcorn and movies. Every year it is a gift – a beautiful Christmas gift.
When our son was 2 years old, one of his gifts didn’t fit under that northern pine Christmas tree. It was a miniature, yet solidly built pine rocking chair. His very own chair for sitting next to the fire. He climbed up on that chair and looked so proud of himself – a throne fit for a king.
There is a throne in Scripture, not one made of pine for small children, but one fit for the King of Kings. A throne that will last forever.
God Promises a Forever Throne to David
King David was on the throne – the man after God’s own heart. God had graciously given him rest from his enemies and Israel was experiencing a season of peace. However, David was bothered by the fact that the ark of God was in a tent while he was in a palace. It didn’t seem right. So David told Nathan the prophet that he intended to build a house for God.
Nathan thought it was a great idea, but that night God appeared to Nathan in a dream and told him to tell David that he was not to build a house for Him. "Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth… Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever" (2 Samuel 7).
David wanted to build a house for God, but instead God said He would build a house for David. And He would raise up one of David’s descendants to sit on his throne forever. What an amazing promise! This is called the Davidic Covenant. It is an unconditional covenant, meaning God does not place any conditions of obedience to fulfill it, which is good news for humanity because we are not so good at obeying.
There are several mentions of the Davidic Covenant throughout the Old Testament. Jeremiah 23:5 says, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land." Jeremiah 33:15 says, "In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land." Isaiah 9:7 says, "Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this." Isaiah 11:1 says, "There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit." And much of Psalm 89 is about this eternal covenant.
Then there is is this puzzling passage in Zechariah 6:12-13. "And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.13 It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’
This is strange indeed. There is a priest on the throne. In Old Testament times the priesthood and the kingship didn’t mix. The priests were in the temple and the kings were in the palace. But here it seems that the priest and the king are one in the same.
Who could this priest-king be who would sit on an eternal throne?
The ancient people of God knew this was a reference to the Messiah, the One who would come to save them. That’s why the birth of Jesus came against their expectations . They were expecting a king to save them from the Roman oppression, and instead they got a Baby in a manger born to an ordinary Jewish couple.
The Birth of Jesus
Notice some of the references to this eternal Davidic throne at the birth of Jesus. "And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies" (Luke 1:67-71).
Luke 1:30-33 says, "And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
The king of heaven, seated on a throne, receiving all the worship of heaven, got up off the throne and came down. So from before His conception, it was prophesied that this baby would be given the throne of His father David and would reign over the house of Jacob forever. It’s no wonder the people were confused by a humble Rabbi who went about teaching about God – again they expected a king.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on palm Sunday, the crowds shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Surely now He would ascend to the throne and establish His kingdom, but instead He was hung on a cruel Roman cross.
After His resurrection, His disciples asked when He was going to establish His kingdom. They said, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” They were still looking for a political power, but Jesus was establishing a spiritual kingdom. They didn’t understand that the kingdom was in their midst.
Then in the letter to the Hebrews we read this: "But of the Son he says,“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom" (Hebrews 1:8). "Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven" (Hebrews 8:1). The priest is seated on a throne beside the throne of God.
A Heavenly Throne
Then, at the end of the story, we see this throne, the one God promised to David. "After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this. At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal" (Revelation 4:1-6).
God is seated on a throne and since Jesus is the second person of the Godhead, He too is ruling and reigning from a throne in heaven.
And then wonder of wonders! Listen to this: "The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne" (Revelation 3:21).
The throne room of God is at the centre of the universe and of all time. God's throne is a place of power and authority, majesty and honour, perfect justice and praise, sovereignty and holiness, purity and grace. One day all creation will bow before God’s throne – we will lay our crowns at his feet and say, "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power.”