The Bible record shows us that the apostles and prophets of old went through some very hard things. Apostasy, persecution, affliction…
But there was something that held them, that kept them, through it all. In the midst of it all they saw an eternal Throne.
Isaiah saw a vision of this throne in the year that king Uzziah died. Uzziah was one of the longest reigning kings, and though he had made mistakes, was greatly loved because of the peace and security the people enjoyed under his shadow. His reign was a time of great prosperity. Suddenly this great and benevolent king died. I’m sure many hearts were anxious. Would the peace and prosperity die with him?
But what does Isaiah the prophet see?
In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple (Isa. 6:1).
Perhaps it is here that Isaiah was first introduced to a throne, and a king and a kingdom, that would never pass away. For a little later we find him prophesying:
Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth and forever (Isa. 9:7).
Jeremiah saw this same throne a century and a half later when the people of God were about to be deported to Babylon for their idolatry.
But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting king… (Jer. 10:10).
This, I am sure, is what kept Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar deposed their king and carried the people captive to Babylon. He knew there was an eternal throne with an everlasting king sitting upon it.
Ezekiel the priest was among those captives. In Babylon by the river Chebar he saw this same throne. He saw in vision the cherubim bearing a throne, “and upon the likeness of the throne was the likeness as the appearance of a Man above upon it” (Ezek. 1:26).
And so even in their captivity there is still One upon the throne. And He assures Ezekiel that His purposes have not come to an end. Greater things are ahead.
The apostle John saw this throne. He had just been exiled to the barren isle of Patmos off the coast of present-day Turkey. John was there because his testimony had been galling to the authorities of the day. At the same time, many of the churches in which he has ministered were in a state of complacency; others had been overcome with false teaching. His whole life’s work, it seems, had been largely in vain. What a recipe for discouragement.
But John sees a vision while on Patmos. It centres around a throne, and One who sits upon it.
And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and [one] sat on the throne (Rev. 4:2).
We too must behold this throne. In fact John calls his vision a prophecy. It was prophetic of our day. We too are living in a time of great apostasy, of spiritual famine and drought. It has become very difficult for the sincere of heart to endure. Many have fallen away. But God has provision for those who love him to endure. We must with the eye of the Spirit behold a Throne.
The apostle Paul saw this throne. In a letter to his “son in the faith” Timothy we discover that Satan and evil men had already done serious damage to the work of the Spirit that Paul has given his life to. He warns of those who have “turned aside unto vain jangling” (1 Tim. 1:6), and that “in the latter time some shall depart from the faith” (1 Tim: 4:1). And so he urges Timothy to stand guard over the doctrine being taught in the church he is involved with (1 Tim. 1:3). He urges him to “war a good warfare” (1 Tim. 1:18), and to “keep that which is committed to thy trust” (1 Tim. 6:20).
And how can you do this, son Timothy? There is one thing filling Paul’s mind in what he is saying to Timothy. We find it at the beginning of his letter, and at the end.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory forever and ever. Amen. (1 Tim. 1:17).
…Which in His times He shall shew, who is the blessed and only potentate (the only power), the King of kings and Lord of lords; who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen (1 Tim. 6:15,16).
In other words, yes, there will come a time when this Throne and the One upon it will be openly manifested. But even now, though He may be invisible at this time, those with the eye of the Spirit can behold His throne and live under His rule. And no other.