Thrones: British and Biblical

Last week, I visited a number of locations in London closely connected to the British monarchy. They contained many royal symbols, including thrones upon which monarchs sit. When someone becomes a king or queen, they are said to ‘accede to the throne’. Thrones do not strike me as the most comfortable items of furniture made by craftsmen, but then they were not manufactured for comfort’s sake, but authority’s.


The throne at the Banqueting House, the surviving part of Whitehall Palace


The throne at Kensington Palace 


The reconstructed medieval throne of King Henry III at the Tower of London. 

I beheld the throne room at Buckingham Palace but was denied the liberty to photograph it on account of security. Likewise the throne in the House of Lords which I saw earlier in the month, and the coronation throne in Westminster Abbey. Six thrones in one month is not bad. 

The Bible talks about human thrones as being only temporary places for royal posteriors. Their occupations are curtailed by death and the kingdoms themselves do not last:

Acts 12:21: On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them.

Herod is here hailed as a god and is soon struck down as a result. Likewise, of Solomon we are told in 2 Chronicles 9:17-18 ‘Moreover, the king made a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with pure gold. There were six steps to the throne and a footstool in gold attached to the throne, and arms on each side of the seat, and two lions standing beside the arms.’ This grandiose throne, with its six steps (a number for man and short of heaven’s perfection), anticipated the time when this rich and wise king would soon follow other gods. Indeed, this is why God ‘has brought down rulers from their thrones’ (Luke 1:52).

Thrones are also a symbol of justice and judgement, as Proverbs relates: ‘A king who sits on the throne of justice disperses all evil with his eyes’ (20:8). The most startling of all thrones, though, is found not within a British palace but the court of heaven, before which sinners must appear: 

‘Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.’ (Rev 20:11)

This throne is not bedecked with velvet and golf-leaf, but a dazzling whiteness reflecting the absolute moral purity of the One judging wickedness. Thank God, my Great White Throne judgement took place near 2000 years before I was a born; Christ received God’s justice on my behalf.