The Throne of Glory

I. Blessed is he who reads

A. Hannah’s prayer (1 Sam. 2:1-10)

“My heart rejoices in the Lord… I smile at my enemies because I rejoice in Your salvation. No one is holy like the LORD… the LORD is the God of knowledge; and by Him actions are weighed. … The LORD kills and makes alive; He brings down to the grave and brings up. The LORD makes poor and makes rich; He brings low and lifts up. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the beggar from the ash heap, to set them among princes and make them inherit the throne of glory. … by strength no man shall prevail. The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken in pieces; from heaven He will thunder against them. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to His king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.”

B. Isaiah’s vision (Isa. 6:1-7)

… I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!” And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke. So I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a live coal which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”

C. Daniel’s night vision (Dan. 7:9-13)

I watched till … the Ancient of Days was seated… His throne was a fiery flame… a fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. … I watched till the beast was slain, and its body given to the burning flame. … I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days…

What must be highlighted here is that the Ancient of Days’ throne is in heaven, and therefore, when the Son of Man comes on the clouds, He is ascending! (Not the Acts 1:9 ascension…)

D. John the Beloved’s testimony (John 1:51; 3:13-15; 12:23-41)

1:51 … “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

3:13-15 “No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man [who is in heaven]. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

12:23-25, 31-33, 37-41 … “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. He who loves His life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. … Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” This He said, signifying by what death He would die. … although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him, that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which He spoke: “Lord, who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?” (Isa. 53:1) Therefore they could not believe, because Isaiah said again: “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts…” (Isa. 6:10) These things Isaiah said when he saw His glory and spoke of Him.

II. Blessed is he who hears (Matt. 16:13-17:23)

A. Confession and maturity (16:13-20)

The church that hears all of Jesus’ words is built on a rock, and the gates of Hell will be unable to prevail against it (cp. 7:24-25). Peter’s confession is prophetic of the hearing church. Those who hear and confess the truth of Jesus’ identity are given the keys of the kingdom, which have authority to bind and loose whatever on earth that is already bound or loosed in heaven.

B. Crucifixion and resurrection (16:21)

The “keys” of the kingdom is more than the statement that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of God, but is what the Christ, the Son of God, does. From Peter’s confession on, Jesus begins to show (literally, display; expose to the eyes) that the Christ, the Son of God, must suffer and be killed. This revelation is the “keys” – Jesus was not giving Peter something that he already had.

C. Rebuke and discipleship (16:22-28)

Peter does not receive that Jesus must be killed. Though since his official calling he was taught by Jesus to carry his cross when witnessing of the kingdom at hand (10:38), he still does not understand that he was to carry his cross as a testimony of the crucified God. Jesus once more explains that His followers must carry their cross, because He too has a cross to carry.

Matt. 16:25 “… whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 26 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. 28 Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.”

Jesus said some of His disciples would not taste death – not just physical death, but the death of a crucified life. This means that “the Son of Man [coming] in the glory of His Father and with His angels” occurred in their lifetime, and is not a future event! Jesus spoke of His death in “Day of the LORD” language, and because of this, many passages that we initially think to be about His return are not so (cp. Matt. 7:21-27; 10:15, 23; 11:20-24; 12:22-45; 22:1-14; 25:1-46; 26:59-68).

D. Exodus and declaration (17:1-8)

It is here at the Mount of Transfiguration that Jesus displays outwardly that He must suffer and be killed. This truly is an unveiling of what “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” would look like, but again, this is a revelation of what would happen in that generation. His face shown like the sun (Rev. 21:23), and Moses and Elijah came “and spoke of His decease (literally, His exodus) which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem” (Luke 9:31). Through Moses God began the exodus (Ex. 12-15), and at Elijah’s appearing He would complete that exodus (Mal. 4:5); these two men are a prophetic picture of what they spoke to Jesus about – the exodus.

In the glory cloud, God spoke audibly to the three apostles, saying, “Hear Him!” – what words of Jesus’ were they to hear? His new message: that the Christ, the Son of God, must be crucified. Satan did not want Jesus to embrace His cross (Matt. 4:8-11; 16:21-23; 27:39-44; 1 Cor. 2:7-12), nor does he want Christians, “little Christs”, the sons of God, to live crucified lives. The devil does not simply hate messengers, but does so because he hates their message.

E. Unbelief and faith (17:14-23)

By this time, the apostles have been casting out demons for over a year, yet now they could not deliver even a young boy. What had changed? Only Jesus’ message, which they rebuked Him for. They had no authority to bind the demon and loose the boy of his oppression, because by denying Jesus’ exodus they in effect did not have the keys of the kingdom. They were told that for their unbelief to come out, they must pray and fast (with mourning; cp. Matt. 9:15).

This entire section (16:21-17:23) is book-ended by Jesus explaining that He must suffer and die, telling the reader that all in between concerns itself with His death. This is also true of 20:17-28.

III. Blessed is he who keeps (Matt. 19:27-20:28)

A. In the regeneration (19:27-30)

The word “regeneration” (Greek, palin-genesia), used only elsewhere in Tts. 3:5, means “new beginning” (literally, again-lineage), and is exodus-type / Passover language. To those who have left family and lands for His name’s sake, He explains that they would “in this time” receive a hundredfold in return, and “in the age to come” (Mark 10:30) eternal life. In other words, the Son of Man was going to sit on the throne of His glory in their lifetime, and those who followed Him would sit on twelve thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel in their lifetime. This was testified as true in the book of Acts. To “judge” is to speak Jesus’ words (cp. John 12:47-48).

B. “First and last” parable (20:1-16)

The landowner (God the Father) sends workers (disciples) into his vineyard (His people Israel), and the workers are equally rewarded (a hundredfold and eternal life) by the steward (Jesus). Many who are first (the rich young ruler) will be last, and all of the last (Peter and the apostles) will be first (cp. 20:27). The ruler went away sorrowful when told to leave his great possessions that he might gain the possessions of the kingdom, just as those first hired complained. We must see our greatness as the wages of an unhired man, and be thankful for our daily manna.

C. Jerusalem’s rejection (20:17-19)

Here again Jesus explains how Jerusalem would celebrate, coronate, and enthrone their King.

D. Seated to His right and left (20:20-23)

Though while descending from the Mount of Transfiguration James and John were commanded to remain silent about what they had seen (17:9), the text here implies that they had shared the vision of Moses and Elijah appearing in glory at Jesus’ right and left with their mother. Immediately after He says that He is about to be crucified, she asks Him if her sons could be seated at His right and left, to which He replies, “You do not know what you ask.” His cup is the cup of wrath, and His baptism is the baptism of death – He is our Passover Lamb.

Matt. 20:23 “… to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared by My Father.”

E. The true throne of glory (20:24-28)

Here is where Jesus finally states explicitly what His throne of glory (which is also mentioned in 25:31) truly is in His sight. True glory is not as the rulers of the Gentiles – Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate, Caesar Tiberius – lord it over them, but is as servants and slaves are least among them. Jesus has come not to reign as the Gentile rulers, but “to give His life a ransom for many” by His crucifixion. He calls His cross – not His Father’s throne in heaven, not David’s throne on earth – His throne of glory. Truly, the only place in Scripture where people are “seated” to Jesus’ right and left is when He is pinned upon His cross!

Matt. 27:35 Then they crucified Him, and … 38 two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left.

IV. Summary

We must, as sent ones declaring the coming of the kingdom, see the glory of the cross as Jesus did. When heralding this gospel of the kingdom, we must carry our cross in order to rightly proclaim the crucified God. For one to inherit the throne of glory, one must become the servant of all, dying to self for the sake of all others. The Lord only draws unto Himself those who are found upon their cross (conclusion to Shelley’s vision). Authority over the kingdom of darkness is had only by agreeing with His kingdom, which has commanded all of her citizens to daily experience the real pains of death on a cross (Ps. 22; Isa. 53), and to see this as glorious. To be farsighted and reach for the promises without foresight will cause such a one to be unprepared and offended. Jesus is returning (Matt. 3:12; 13:36-43, 47-50; 23:37-39; 24:3-51; 28:18-20), and He will have a name written that no one knows (Rev. 19:12), though it is declared all throughout His word! We must read, hear, and keep the words of His prophecy, for only those who do all these things “may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city” (Rev. 22:14). The tree of life takes away the curse, which is a shadow pointing to Jesus’ death on the tree that takes away the curse; the gates of pearl point to entrance only by tribulation (Acts 14:22). To have a faith in Jesus’ cross apart from participation in it is not saving faith; those who do not see this participation as glorious will be called least in His kingdom (cp. Matt. 5:19).

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