The Hebrew term kis·seʼʹ basically means “seat” (1Sa 4:13), “chair” (2Ki 4:10), or a seat of special importance such as a “throne” (1Ki 22:10). Its application is not limited to the seats of ruling monarchs (1Ki 2:19; Ne 3:7; Es 3:1; Eze 26:16), nor does it strictly refer to a seat with a high back and armrests. Eli, for instance, while at the gate of Shiloh, fell backward from his kis·seʼʹ, evidently a backless seat. (1Sa 4:13, 18) The Greek term throʹnos generally refers to a high stool, with back, arms, and a footstool.
Isaiah 14:9 intimates that thrones were universally used by monarchs, the Bible specifically mentioning the thrones of Egypt (Ge 41:40; Ex 11:5; 12:29), Assyria (Jon 3:6), Babylon (Isa 14:4, 13; Da 5:20), Persia (Es 1:2; 5:1), and Moab (Jg 3:17, 20). Archaeologists believe that they have found thrones used by rulers or their associates of all these powers, except Moab. An ivory panel, thought to depict a Canaanite throne and footstool, was found at Megiddo. Generally, these non-Israelite thrones have backs and armrests, being richly carved or ornamented. One extant Egyptian throne was made of wood overlaid with gold, while an Assyrian one was of wrought iron with ivory carvings. The throne seems customarily to have been placed on a dais, or raised platform, and in most cases a footstool was present.
The only throne of a ruler of Israel described in detail is the one Solomon made. (1Ki 10:18-20; 2Ch 9:17-19) It appears to have been located in “the Porch of the Throne,” one of the buildings that stood on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem. (1Ki 7:7) It was ‘a great ivory throne overlaid with refined gold with a round canopy behind it and armrests.’ Although ivory could have been the basic material in this royal chair, the construction technique generally followed at the temple would seem to indicate that it was made of wood, overlaid with refined gold and richly ornamented with inlaid panels of ivory. To the observer, such a throne would appear to be made entirely of ivory and gold. After mentioning six steps leading to the throne, the record continues: “Two lions were standing beside the armrests. And there were twelve lions standing there upon the six steps, on this side and on that side.” (2Ch 9:17-19) The symbolism of the lion denoting ruling authority is appropriate. (Ge 49:9, 10; Re 5:5) The 12 lions appear to have corresponded to the 12 tribes of Israel, possibly symbolizing their subjection to and support of the ruler on this throne. Attached in some way to the throne was a footstool of gold. By its description this ivory-and-gold throne—in its lofty, canopied position with the majestic lions in front—transcends any throne of that time period, whether discovered by archaeologists, depicted on the monuments, or described in the inscriptions. As the chronicler truthfully observed: “No other kingdom had any made just like it.”—2Ch 9:19.
Figurative Usage. “Throne” figuratively signifies a seat of ruling authority (1Ki 2:12; 16:11) or the kingly authority and sovereignty itself (Ge 41:40; 1Ch 17:14; Ps 89:44); a reigning government or royal administration (2Sa 14:9); sovereign control over a territory (2Sa 3:10); and a position of honor (1Sa 2:7, 8; 2Ki 25:28).
What is “Jehovah’s throne”?
Jehovah, whom even “the heaven of the heavens” cannot contain, does not have to sit on a literal throne or chair. (1Ki 8:27) He does, however, picture his royal authority and sovereignty by the symbol of a throne. Certain ones of God’s servants were privileged to see a vision of his throne. (1Ki 22:19; Isa 6:1; Eze 1:26-28; Da 7:9; Re 4:1-3) The Psalms describe Jehovah’s throne, his majesty or power, his position as Supreme Judge, as being established on righteousness and justice “from long ago.”—Ps 89:14; 93:2; 97:2.
Jehovah extended his throne to earth in a typical, specific way in his dealings with the sons of Israel. Since the one ruling in Israel was to be “a king whom Jehovah your God will choose,” who would rule in Jehovah’s name over Jehovah’s people and according to Jehovah’s law, his throne was really “Jehovah’s throne.”—De 17:14-18; 1Ch 29:23.
Besides his kingly identity with the royal line of Judah, Jehovah was enthroned in Israel in another sense as well. As Jeremiah expressed it: “There is the glorious throne on high from the start; it is the place of our sanctuary.” (Jer 17:12) Jehovah was spoken of as “sitting upon the cherubs” that were on the propitiatory cover of the ark of the testimony in the sanctuary. (Ex 25:22; 1Sa 4:4) The divine presence was symbolized by a cloud that reportedly produced a miraculous light that later Jewish writers called the Shekhi·nahʹ. (Le 16:2) While Jeremiah foretold the absence of the ark of the covenant when Israel would be restored from Babylon, this would not mean that Jehovah no longer purposed to be enthroned at his center of worship. As He said: “In that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah.” (Jer 3:16, 17) Ezekiel’s restoration prophecies are in agreement, for in his vision of Jehovah’s temple in which no ark of the covenant was seen, he was told: “Son of man, this [temple] is the place of my throne.”—Eze 43:7.
Jehovah covenanted that the throne of David’s seed should “itself become one lasting to time indefinite.” (1Ch 17:11-14) In announcing the fulfillment of this promise, the angel Gabriel said to Mary: “Jehovah God will give [Jesus] the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Lu 1:32, 33) Not only would there be an inheritance of an earthly dominion on Jesus’ part but he would share Jehovah’s throne, which is universal. (Re 3:21; Isa 66:1) In turn, Jesus promised to share his throne of kingly authority with all those who, like his faithful apostles, were in the new covenant with his Father and who would conquer the world as Jesus had done. Thus, it would be granted to them to sit on thrones along with Jesus.—Mt 19:28; Lu 22:20, 28-30; Re 3:21.
In harmony with Jehovah’s prophecy through Zechariah that the man named “Sprout,” the builder of the future temple for Jehovah, “must become a priest upon his throne,” Paul records concerning Jesus: “We have such a high priest as [Melchizedek, a king-priest], and he has sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” (Zec 6:11-13; Heb 8:1) In addition to Christ Jesus, John saw the whole spiritual house or sanctuary of God, the faithful Christian congregation, enthroned as king-priests to rule for a thousand years.—Re 20:4, 6; 1Pe 2:5.
As foretold in Psalm 45:6, and applied by Paul in Hebrews 1:8, Jesus’ throne, his office or authority as sovereign, has its source in Jehovah: “God is your throne forever.” On the other hand, the Devil, too, provides basis or authority for his organizations to rule, as emphasized in Revelation 13:1, 2, with respect to the ‘wild beast that came out of the sea’: “The dragon gave to the beast its power and its throne and great authority.” When Satan offered similar power and authority to Jesus Christ, his price was stated: “If you do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.” (Lu 4:5-7) Correspondingly, the grant of a throne or authority to “the wild beast” must have been on the condition of its serving Satan.
In discussing Jesus’ position as God’s Master Worker, Paul mentions that through Christ “thrones” were created. The term appears to refer to positions of official authority, both visible and invisible, within God’s administrative arrangement.—Col 1:16.