In their respective books in the Bible, each of the three great Old Testament writer-prophets, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Daniel, was given a rare vision of God sitting upon His throne. These prophets did their best to describe their experiences using the words and images they had available to them. Though these descriptions are likely insufficient to convey the true wonder and divine glory of what they beheld, their scriptural pictures do give us some insight into what actually lies beyond the barriers of our known physical world.
Although many today claim to have seen visons of heaven, of the thousands of people listed in the Old and New Testaments, only a handful are recorded to have received them. Besides the three prophets just mentioned, and Jesus Christ Himself who came from residency there, only a few more people are listed, including the Apostle Paul, who had an indescribable vision of the “third heaven”, the Apostle John, who had multiple visions which he recorded in the book of Revelation, the Old Testament prophet Zechariah, whose visions included one of God’s court held in heaven, and the Old Testament prophet Micaiah, who shared a heavenly vision of God on the throne in an unsuccessful effort to save wayward king Ahab from destruction.
We also know that Moses spoke face to face with God in a cloud on Mount Sinai, so it would not be unreasonable to think that perhaps he, too, was given a heavenly vision to help pattern the tabernacle and its articles.
The prophet Ezekiel tells us of his remarkable vision of God on the throne in the first chapter of his book.
26 Above this surface was something that looked like a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man. 27 From what appeared to be his waist up, he looked like gleaming amber, flickering like a fire. And from his waist down, he looked like a burning flame, shining with splendor. 28 All around him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me. When I saw it, I fell face down on the ground, and I heard someone’s voice speaking to me. Ezekiel 1:26-28 (NLT)
The impact of this vision was enough to bring Ezekiel to a prostrate position. The vision was dreamlike and wonderful, yet the glory of it and God’s presence overwhelmed his senses. We can likely expect the same when we, too, become witnesses to God’s throne room.
The prophet Isaiah added another observation about God on His throne.
1 It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Isaiah 6:1 (NLT)
Daniel’s vision fills out some additional information.
9 I watched as thrones were put in place
and the Ancient One sat down to judge.
His clothing was as white as snow,
his hair like purest wool.
He sat on a fiery throne
with wheels of blazing fire,
10 and a river of fire was pouring out,
flowing from his presence.
Millions of angels ministered to him;
many millions stood to attend him.
Then the court began its session,
and the books were opened. Daniel 7:9-10 (NLT)
All three descriptions come together to give us a composite picture of the nature and setting of God’s throne and the glorious appearance of the One who sat upon it.
How does all of this impact me and my life today?
First of all, we have abundant scriptural evidence that, despite the mighty magnificence of these visions, God is intimately close to each one of us, and He cares deeply about even the smallest detail of our lives. He is not some distant Creature who created the earth then stands back to let us all fend for ourselves. He loves us deeply, and desires that we would love and care about Him in return. He seeks a daily relationship with us and wishes to reside within our hearts through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This opportunity is available to every person who would receive the loving sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ as an atonement for our sins and would invite Him through the Spirit to live within our heart.
Despite its unfathomable greatness, we, too, are invited to experience the throne room and the presence of God, but we must come on His terms of holiness. No matter how good we have been, we can never be sufficiently holy on our own to enter into His presence, but we can be made clean by approaching through the cross of Christ. Jesus died as a sin substitute for all who would willingly receive Him and be cleansed by Him. He was then raised from the dead as the first born of a new covenant of grace and mercy. We who choose to follow after Him are given the privilege to be raised as well, to join Him forever in His heavenly kingdom. Is the Spirit speaking to your heart to invite Him in today?
How do these images of God on His throne impact your conception of Him?
Why might God have given each of these prophets such a vision to share?
How does this glorious magnificence compare with the many details going on in my life today? Does God care about me? How about everything that is happening around me and to me – does such a high and lofty God care?
Yes, He certainly does! And He has the power to address whatever evil or affliction that is coming against us. May we all will humbly seek His face today as we approach the throne room of God.
Lord God, thank You that You care about even the smallest detail of my life. Be with each of us today to protect us and guide us through the challenges of life. Help me to seek to follow after Jesus. We are totally dependent upon Your infinite love, mercy, and grace in our lives, today and every day. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.