The Great Throne of Ivory Overlaid with Gold (1 Kings 10. 17-20)
Roy Hill, Bristol, England [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
King Solomon had an enormous income of gold and annually received over 20 tons of it. Consequently he was able to use it to beautify the house of the Lord and in a variety of other ways. For example, he used it to make both large and small shields, in total 500 of them. Subsequently he built a great throne of ivory and overlaid it with the best gold.
The throne is described as having six steps and a golden footstool and was rounded behind. Lions stood on either side of the seat and two more lions stood on each of the six steps by which it was approached. The glory of the throne is described as being unequalled.
The throne speaks to us of Christ and we shall look at it under the following headings:
Ivory overlaid with Gold
We are not given any idea as to the size of the throne which was probably built of wood and then inlaid with ivory. The wood was imported from Ophir (possibly India), as was the gold.
It is likely that the ivory came either from the elephants of the upper Euphrates area or from India. Wood speaks of the humanity of Christ and the inlaid ivory of His moral beauties which were so evident in His life on earth. The gold of course speaks of His deity which He ever retained while here among men.
The back of the throne was rounded and there were armrests which were supported by two lions on either side of the seat. The roundness or smoothness reminds us of the perfection and sinless Godman nature of the Lord, while the lions represent dignity and power.
Thus, the throne would speak of the life of the Lord Jesus in all its aspects (humanity, beauty and perfection, glory) and draw our attention to the eternal Son and His measureless reign.
We are told that six steps led up to the throne and a golden footstool was provided for the king on which to rest his feet. The six steps and the one footstool would remind us of the seven steps down which the Lord Jesus took in Philippians chapter 2 and also of the seven steps back up. 'Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father', Phil. 2. 6-11.
On each step stood two lions, twelve in all. We know that the lion speaks of dignity and the number twelve of administration or government. We do well to reflect that when our Lord Jesus descended to the very depths in this life, and at Calvary, He never lost any of His dignity. Mere men on their way down often lose all sense of dignity and balance but not so the Lord. He retained it always. He was, for example, poor, but not a beggar. When He said, 'Show me a penny', it was not that He was penniless but that it was important for His questioners to produce a penny themselves to indicate their involvement with Caesar and their acceptance of his rule. Furthermore, there were twelve lions thus speaking of the fact that His descent was in the will of God governmentally, as too was His ascent to glory.
Not once was He outside of God's purposes. Not once did heaven fail to monitor His movements, until at the last He cried 'My God, My God why hast thou forsaken me'. How good to know that just as it was God's purpose for Him to take the lowest place so too was it His purpose to exalt Him to the highest.
This too was made of gold, 2 Chron. 9, the same material as the throne itself. The footstool would speak of the cross, as Philippians 2 puts it, 'even the death of the cross'. Precious to God as the throne itself the cross marks the depth of man's sin and the height of God's love and is as far reaching as the throne itself.
Thus in these details of Solomon's throne we see depicted, as in all the scriptures, things concerning Himself.