10th January 2012

A Stone And A Throne

“Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom.”
Hebrews 1:8 (NIV)

In Edinburgh Castle there is an oblong block of red sandstone – plain and totally unimpressive.  Its size is about 26 inches (660 mm) by 16.75 inches (425 mm) by 10.5 inches (270 mm) and its weight is approximately 336 pounds (152 kg). The top bears chisel-marks and there are rings at each end for easier transport.  In appearance, insignificant – in history, an irreplaceable artifact.   It is ,of course, the Stone of Destiny.  It has been revered for centuries as a holy relic, and fought over by the Scottish and English for 700 years.  The Stone has been used successively by Dalriadic, Scottish, English and British monarchs as an important part of their enthronement ceremonies.

Westminster Abbey, London, houses a very old chair covered in scratches, graffiti, dents and probable woodworm, yet it has been treasured by the nation for centuries.  The Coronation Chair was made on the orders of King Edward I in 1300–1 to enclose the Stone of Destiny (also called the Stone of Scone), which he had brought from Scotland in l296 and placed in the care of the Abbot of Westminster. Until the removal of the Stone to Scotland in 1996, the Chair was the oldest piece of furniture in England still used for the purpose for which it was made.

King Edward commissioned a court painter to decorate the chair with patterns of birds, foliage and animals on a gilt background. The figure of a king, either Edward the Confessor or Edward I, his feet resting on a lion, was painted on the back. Only traces of this original paintwork survive.  Today, neither artefact of itself has any aesthetic value, yet each is considered priceless in their heritage and legacy to this nation.  The Coronation Chair is known worldwide, every year thousands of tourists flock to the Abbey to view it.  It is the focal point at the Coronation of British monarchs.  At coronations the chair is positioned in the sacrarium where it stands facing the high altar. It is the seat of the head of state of this realm. 

Yet God’s word tells us these things are not forever.  Proverbs 27:24 says,. for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.”  The destiny of the famous stone and chair is dust.  Could there be another throne more significant than the Coronation Chair in Westminster Abbey?  The answer is, of course: God’s throne.  Read Psalm 47:8, “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne.”

Does this throne have a name and who are the subjects?  Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’  A throne of grace!  There are a plethora of descriptions of God’s awesome throne in His word; however the real import to us is what it represents now and in the future.

When life gets difficult, reflect on the promise made in Revelation 21:3 – God’s throne is coming to earth!  This is the ultimate destiny for us all – the day when God will dwell with us.  Nevertheless the great news is that we have access now!  As we read in Hebrews 4:16, we can approach this mighty throne with confidence.  Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, has made this possible.  God’s throne is a whispered prayer away – draw nearer to the immortal, magnificent, eternal throne – He is waiting to hear from you.

Great God, our loving Father, as we pray, we come before your splendid throne with hearts full of gratitude for all you have done for us – thank you for Jesus.

Study by Irene Wilson

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