August 7th, 2007
Turning our attention away, for a moment, from the beautiful jasper and sardius God, we might find ourselves fixated on the incredible throne that He is seated on.
Revelation 4, the ultimate “throne room” chapter in the Bible, has surprisingly little to say about the “throne set in heaven”, or the first thing John lays eyes on when he is taken up in the spirit through the great door of revelation. Related to the events that would follow that grand vision, it was enough for John (and the church) to know that One was seated on the throne of sovereignty over all of history and all who dwell in heaven and on the earth, and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them. In other words, that He is seated tells us all we need to know about the shaking and trouble that would follow in the vision - He is the great and glorious King over everything that would take place and everyone that would take part.
Daniel’s encounter with the throne of God (Daniel 7:9-10)
When Daniel sees the throne room, however, God wants to send a different message to Him and to His people. In Daniel 7, it is the “Ancient of Days” who is seated on the throne - God wanted to speak to His people about the events of the past as well as the events that were to come. The people of God had been judged and sentenced to 70 years of captivity - was God still in control while pagan nations and demonized kings with inferior gods ruled over them?
In other words, the throne-chariot would have been instantly recognizable to a man in Daniel’s time, a time in which it was common for Kings to be great military leaders on the actual field of battle. Thus many of the great kings of the ancient times were also great generals and accomplished soldiers. Riding their own mighty chariots into battle, their ornate design set them apart from a group of bowmen that went to war in what was then an incredibly expensive piece of machinery for any nation. 2 Chronicles 1:17 tells us that a chariot cost 600 shekels, while the two horses that drove the finest ones cost 150 shekels apiece. At 900 shekels (or approx. 14 grams of silver per shekel), fielding a chariot was a ninety thousand dollar investment in those days.
Thus the chariots of Egypt had been long coveted by the Israelites to deliver them from the oppression of Assyria and Babylon - the speed, maneuverability, and power of a chariot in battle was almost unbeatable by foot soldiers. Lines of chariots would rain down lethal volleys of arrows upon an inferior army, quickly move and reposition when charged, and then run down the enemy when they inevitably scattered. The king, of course, reserved the finest, fastest, and most terrifying chariot for himself.
The Incomparable Beauty of God’s Throne
Thus, when Daniel sees the magnificent throne chariot of the Ancient of Days, he is seeing something incomparable in glory related to the kings of his time. It was an exploding throne of fire, a terrifying display of His power, superiority, and awesome unyielding zeal for complete victory over His enemies. The fire was also a divine statement of His white-hot holiness and purity, an all-consuming flame that would either expel or cleanse anything it touched.
It is doubtful that the fiery flame was red or yellow, as fire becomes when it burns at its cooler temperatures; hotter fires burn blue, but the most intense heat produces a pure, white intensity that would immediately burn off any impurity. Surely this was the flame that Daniel was confronted with. The heat, intensity, and power of that flame would be irresistible to any it approached.
And with fiery wheels, it would approach the peoples - it was more than a seat that others would have to approach. A throne-chariot pursues. It moves. It is agressive, rather than a passive object that gathers. The fiery wheels reveal the nature of the King seated upon it as well as His clear intentions. He is a conquerer. He is not going to make the nations come to Him, He is going to go forth and take the nations. He is a Warrior-King who will, in the days to come, commission His Son to go forth and conquer the nations in flaming fire. Ezekiel 1 reveals that the Son has His own fearsome throne-chariot, layered in fire, smoke, and light. It is a moving throne, more mobile and able than anything made by the hands of men. He is a fiery conquerer, a true consuming fire.
Our God is a Consuming Fire
From that fiery throne with wheels of burning fire a “fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him.” Revelation 22:1 describes a “pure river of water of life, clear as crystal” proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb; Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes this same river as it connects with the temple on the earth and forms into an uncrossable body of water that brings healing throughout the region - life will burst forth as it flows throughout the Middle East in the days of His kingdom.
I believe that there will be a thousand-year period when healing waters flow from the throne of God to refresh the earth. This water, however, will be be followed by cleansing fire that will flow from that same throne. The sea of glass is mingled with fire (Rev. 15:3), and God Himself is a consuming fire (Heb. 12:29). Isaiah asked the critical question - “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings??” (Is. 33:14).
Who among us will dwell with the Consuming Fire, the Living Flame, the One who is seated upon fire, from whom fire comes forth to purify, cleanse, and destroy? Yet even the destructive properties of the holy fire of God are to reform, refashion, reshape, and renew - the earth will be fully cleansed and reconstituted to contain the New Jerusalem when it is set into the earth like a diamond into a ring (Ps. 46:4-6; 97:5; 2 Pet. 3:10-11; Rev. 20:9-21:2). While all of our natural sensibilities are wired to fear fire, the cleansing white-hot fire of the Lord will be beautiful to behold. When the fire of the Lord came to the Temple of Solomon at it’s dedication, all the peoples trembled before the consuming expression of God’s zeal for His house and the awesome holiness of His presence.
In the coming days, we will truly be like moths attracted to the flame. Those who stand on the sea of glass mingled with fire - the very same fire Daniel saw enveloping the throne of God - rejoice and sing. They are the ones that John saw, able to dwell with everlasting burnings.