Summary: This article was written and published Sept. ’15; edited Aug. ’17. This article is at times a bit technical, yet always very easy to understand. Again there are only three dispensations worth considering and basically two ways in viewing the character of the throne of God – either as a governmental throne or a throne of grace. Eventually the article provides some exciting teaching and insights on the biblical hopes of genuine Christians. This readily comes out to the surface when the principles of the dispensations are understood and contrasted with each other. And it isn’t just the throne of God in its different character that may be paired with the different dispensations, but also the different names of God as He has revealed Himself in relationship with man during the time of these differing dispensations. The Christian possessing a basic understanding of Scripture should have no problem following along.
This should be an interesting topic of study. As a bible subject the throne of God is similar to the kingdom of God in that both are used in Scripture as a generic term or idea. Both take on different specific forms or expressions when associated with the different dispensations. In a similar way certain names by which God has revealed Himself are related to the different dispensations, and hopefully I may address these names by the end of the article. When I speak of dispensations I believe there are only three – the Jewish dispensation, the Christian dispensation, and the future millennium. If we begin with the book of Exodus and go through to Revelation twenty-one (21), where we find the start of the eternal state, we are dealing with these three dispensations successively.
Regardless how many dispensations man may imagine he finds in the book of Genesis, the spiritual enlightenment to be gained in its study is from the understanding of the great biblical principles found there, which are helpful in explaining God’s ways with man in the three dispensations that follow (Exodus – Revelation). These principles are many and varied. With Adam creature responsibility (the creature responsible for obeying the Creator) was tested, and failure resulted. After the garden man was now a fallen sinner by nature, and apart from God. Having still the same responsibility, he became guilty of filling the earth with evil and violence. God’s judgment came in with the deluge and destroyed the world that then existed, saving only Noah and his family. The principle of government of the earth begins with Noah – the sword placed in man’s hands to curb his evil doings. Also the idea of covenant in connection with the earth or blessings on the earth begins in principle, and the thought of the faithfulness of God in keeping covenant regardless. With Abram we see the principles of promise, election, and calling – as understood through God’s sovereign choice and grace. Although they existed before Abraham, and God had used them previous to him, still it is with Abraham that these principles come into God’s revelation (His word) in any detail.
The three dispensations each distinguish themselves by having differing foundational principles. The Jewish dispensation was entirely based on human responsibility. Israel was the test-case representing all mankind in Adam. Instead of one command, now God gives man in Adam ten commandments. The law was given only to Israel. It was the perfect rule or measure of creature responsibility resulting in human righteousness. “Do this and live” was the expression of this principle. The Jewish dispensation, and Judaism (the Mosaic law), had as its founding principle human responsibility (Lev. 18:5, Neh. 9:29, Gal. 3:12, Rom. 10:5). What brought a suspension of the Jewish dispensation was Israel’s failure to receive their Messiah when He came to them in goodness and mercy. This again was a failure in responsibility for the Jews. They were the most privileged nation on the face of the earth – God’s own chosen people. When they killed the Son (Matt. 21:37-39) the entire human race in Adam failed (Rom. 3:9-19). At that time God condemned the world (John 12:31), declaring man in Adam as lost and by nature disobedient (Eph. 2:2-3).
[Scripture shows that the Jewish dispensation never ended, but instead was suspended by God when the Jews killed His Son. This is taught in Daniel’s 70-week prophecy (Dan. 9:24-27). In it God was counting down the remaining time in the Jewish dispensation, beginning at the time of the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem in Daniel’s day. 70 weeks of time equals 490 years. The countdown went until Israel’s Messiah came, was crucified, and cut off. The countdown of Jewish time and the Jewish dispensation was suspended with one week or seven years remaining. The future tribulation will be the last week of the previously suspended Jewish dispensation. This is why the throne of God in Rev. 4 has the same character as the throne of God during the Jewish dispensation (Ex. 19:16, 20:18, Ez. 1). The future tribulation begins with the opening of the first seal in Rev. 6:1.]
The Christian dispensation succeeded the Jewish one and has as its founding principle the sovereign grace of God through faith. God’s infallible and eternal work, based on the cross, replaces man’s works of responsibility. God freely redeems men individually (Rom. 3:24), and then baptizes them by the Holy Spirit as members of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). This work of God’s goes on unseen and in mystery, so to speak (John 3:8), requiring the eye of faith of the believer to fully understand. But what can the world easily perceive during this dispensation? They see how the outward profession of faith results in the plethora of ways a confessor may be baptized, and the creation by man of all the differing entities/groups included in Christendom in the world. This the world calls the church, as do, unfortunately, many genuine Christians. The world recognizes the pope as its universal head. Instead of Israel, now the grand corporate entity under God’s eye and blessing on the earth is Christendom. The principle of the dispensation is the profession of faith, however true or false this confession may be. The principle of faith involves mystery – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
It is not that human responsibility has disappeared during our present dispensation. It simply is no longer being tested by God to see if man, by obedience, may be able to save himself. God specifically tested human responsibility in man in four different ways, at four different times in the Old Testament and Gospels: Adam in innocence, man fallen in Adam without the law, man fallen in Adam with the law (Israel), and God in human flesh come in grace and goodness to His own (to Israel) – all four constitute God’s comprehensive testing of man in the flesh proving his depravity. In the last two cases Israel stood as the privileged and special people of God representing the fallen human race in Adam.
As a biblical principle, all responsibility issues forth from the existing relationship one is conscious of being in. Man was created by God and existed from the beginning as a creature conscious of having a relationship with his Creator. Having such consciousness, man must obey the will of God in that relationship. Adam, when he was created in innocence, sinned in his one act of disobedience. Adam, the responsible man, failed in his responsibility when God tested him by the one command. Mankind in Adam was now fallen and a sinner. As long as God was testing man’s creature responsibility, mankind was on probation. The testing of man continued from Adam in innocence in the garden to right before the cross of Christ. In the gospels and before the crucifixion God condemns the world, and declares man lost. This is no longer probation. The testing of man’s creature responsibility was finished. Man was proven by God to be utterly depraved.
I listed above the four ways by which God tested mankind. The last two took place during the Jewish dispensation – man fallen in Adam with the law (Israel) and also when Messiah was sent to them (Israel). The Messiah coming was the last testing of human responsibility by God. When they rejected their Messiah and killed the Son, all testing was complete. The Scriptures describe the event of the cross as coming at the “fullness of the time” (Gal. 4:4) and the “end of the world” (Heb. 9:26). The time of man’s probation had run out and God condemns the world (John 12:31). But certainly the last two means of God testing man defines the Jewish dispensation, and gives the principle of creature responsibility as the dispensation’s founding principle.
The cross of Jesus Christ represents the foundation by which God now comes in with His own work – not man’s work being looked at and tested, but God’s work which is always perfect and eternal. On the cross Jesus bore away all the believer’s sins. These were our failures in our responsibilities as sons of Adam. All the Christian’s sins are forgiven and gone – this is a secure and eternal work based on a one time, yet eternal sacrifice. The believer’s Adam responsibility has been dealt with by God. It was fully judged on the cross when God condemned his own Son to death (Rom. 8:3). And we also died with Christ, so that the life we now have, the life of a resurrected Christ, represents a new existence, a new life, a new creation. We are now born of God instead of being born of Adam. The believer is now in Christ, the second Adam. “The old man was crucified with Christ…” (Rom. 6:6) Our connection to Adam has been severed. Our Adam existence has ended.
It is not that responsibility has ended for the believer. More so, the true Christian is on a higher level of responsibility – our relationship from which our responsibility flows is as sons of God and our Father. We are no longer born of Adam, but rather born of God (John 1:12-13). We are no longer sons of Adam, but sons of God (Gal. 3:26). We have the same relationship which Jesus has with His God and Father (John 20:17). And we follow Christ as our example and model in responsibility (I John 2:6). It is the Holy Spirit, dwelling in the believer, who is the delivering power of this resurrected life we possess (Rom. 8:2). Only the true believer, having been sealed with the Spirit, has the potential to walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh (Rom. 8:4). This is our individual responsibility in our new relationship as sons of God.
During the present Christian dispensation there is a corporate body in the world which may be likened to Israel as the corporate body in the Jewish dispensation – this is Christendom (Matt. 13:24-30; 13:37-43 – the spoiled crop in the field). Hidden inside this external body is a smaller corporate entity known as the church, the body of Christ (Matt. 13:44-46). Christendom includes all that professes Christ and are water baptized. It should be obvious from the parables that Christendom is a mixture of different works – God’s work in planting the wheat in sovereign grace, the devils work in planting his tares, and man’s failures in corporate responsibility (sleeping, and not taking care of the planted crop). Ministers have failed in Christendom by building up the building of God using wood, hay, and stubble (I Cor. 3).
Christendom has a corporate responsibility in the same way that Israel had a national responsibility in the Jewish dispensation. Israel was the witness to the name of Jehovah for all the Gentile nations around them to see. If Israel remained in their land, and remained free from Gentile rule, then this honored the name of Jehovah, and caused fear of His name among the Gentiles. But under the time of God testing responsibility He could not allow Israel, in its apostasy and idolatry, to remain in the land. The very fact of the Jews being scattered into the nations for so long profanes the name of Jehovah (Ez. 36:16-24).
Christendom has fared no better in its corporate responsibility in this dispensation than Israel did in theirs. The professing church was to be the witness on earth to the exalted glory of Jesus Christ on High and to the name of God as Father in relationship to His many sons in Christ. This is not a witness by words and preaching the gospel, but by being the light of God in a world content to live in spiritual darkness. Yet Christendom’s candlestick has grown quite dim, and it does not have the witness that God intended. The corporate responsibility of Christendom is in ruin, and is non-recoverable. The Scriptures make this abundantly clear. God has given in His word His own testimony as to what would be the history of Christendom. The corporate body of the professing church has failed miserably in its responsibility before God. To think and believe otherwise is a contradiction of God’s word and testimony.
Most all ministers would deny the reality of God’s testimony of the corporate ruin of Christendom. They so want to believe they are partially responsible for what has become a victorious and triumphant church, one trampling the gates of hell wherever its influence is felt. Although they may not see the triumph yet, they feel that there is all the hope in the world that such universal results are right around the next corner. And they whole-heartedly believe God has promised exactly this. Yet God’s testimony is the opposite of this. I am not saying that all local churches are corrupt, dead, and soon to be spewed out of the Lord’s mouth. But there is such a thing in scripture as corporate responsibility. We cannot deny it, shrug our shoulders and simply continue on. Israel had corporate responsibility before Jehovah. God treated them as a people, as a nation. Christendom in whole has a similar corporate responsibility as did the nation of Israel. God’s testimony of the whole outward body of professing Christendom, seen as one corporate entity having one candlestick representing its public testimony and responsibility before God, is a testimony of corruption, deadness, and being so full of itself so as to be described by the Lord as lukewarm (Rev. 2; 3).
Where are we if we are found to be denying God’s testimony? If we deny the reality of our present corporate condition before God, are we not the blind leading the blind? Are we not in a similar condition to that of Israel in the time of Elijah and Jeremiah? Or the time of Christ when He came to them? God came and visited Israel, and they did not know it, nor did they recognize Him. It is not hard to imagine that most of Christendom could be blind to its real spiritual condition, and oblivious to God’s testimony from His word concerning it. This is a most serious dilemma to which no one wants to speak. Our willful blindness to the real condition of Christendom in the world, and God’s testimony in His word concerning it, is a dangerous place to be in spiritually.
The dispensation of the fullness of times, the millennium, has the principle of “…every eye will see Him…” It is no longer a mystery, but all men on the earth will see Him, especially unbelieving Israel who pierced Him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him (Rev. 1:7), anticipating His judgment of them. As the second Adam will be then physically present on the earth, Jesus will destroy all the evil of man that has ripened, which the first Adam brought in. He will undo all the misery the first man caused to come upon the human race. During the millennium He will judge in righteousness bringing in peace (Isa. 32:16-17).
It is interesting how the throne of God may be viewed differently in each of the three dispensations. God’s manifested presence and glory was on the earth and in the midst of Israel during the Jewish dispensation. This, at the least, was true at its beginning. Because of Israel’s redemption, outwardly in the flesh in its limited form, God comes down to dwell on the earth in the midst of His chosen people, and to rule the world. This was something new. God never lived with Adam or Abraham. But when He has a redeemed people unto Himself, now He will dwell on the earth and rule the world.
During this time the throne of God is associated with the giving of the law. It is associated with Mt. Sinai and the manifestations seen and heard and felt there – thunderings and lightenings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, the sound of a trumpet getting louder and louder. Anyone who broke through and touched the mountain was to be put to death (Ex. 19:12-13, 16-24).
Exodus 19:18 (NKJV)
“Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.”
You can see how outwardly sensual these experiences were for Israel (Heb. 9:1-10). All these things and more show that the law of Moses was designed outwardly for man in the flesh and as part of the world. Judaism was God’s religion given to man in Adam, who was a sinner. It amounts to being a walk in the flesh and according to the outward senses. This was a worldly, fleshly, sensual religion, which separated the Jews from the Gentiles by the worship of the one true God, yet never separated them from being part of the world (this truth is a critical understanding).
But the throne of God was associated with the government of God and His judgments – thunderings, lightenings, fire and smoke. There was the shaking of the mountain and the trembling of the people. The ark was the throne and God dwelt between the cherubim. However He stayed in the darkness behind the veil and the people did not go in. The tablets of the law were placed inside the ark – the throne was a throne of government of the earth, and the law was that by which God judged. All this speaks of the character of God’s throne during the Jewish dispensation.
The next dispensation – the Christian dispensation – replaces the Jewish dispensation. John’s gospel presents the distinct difference between these two in this way: “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The throne of God to which the believer has to do, is a throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). Grace is not law (please compare Rom. 4:4-5; 4:13-16; 5:20; 6:14; 11:6, Gal. 2:21; 3:10-13; 3:21-25; 5:4). It is not government (Isa. 26:9-10). Grace is not judgment, and there are no thunderings and lightnings. Also the Christian goes in into the Presence. There is nothing to inhibit us, the cross of Christ providing our access. Actually we are encouraged in Christ to go all the more boldly.
Hebrews 10:19-22 (NKJV)
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”
This is the throne to which Jesus refers in saying, “…as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Rev. 3:21). This is the throne the Christian has to do with. It is His Father’s throne as it is the believer’s Father’s throne, simply because these associations are based on the exact same relationship with God and the Father that Jesus has (John 20:17). He may say, “My God…” as He does often as the glorified Son of Man (Rev. 3:12), but the true Christian is privileged to do the same. This is not a Jewish throne. It is not the throne of David. It is not an earthly throne. It is the throne of grace of our Father in heaven, where Jesus ascended to, being glorified as Man, sitting down at the right hand of God. It is the throne of grace associated only with Christianity, because the believer’s High Priest is sitting there fulfilling His priestly ministry on our behalf. He only intercedes for the Christian. He does not pray for the Jews or the world (John 17:9).
Hebrews 4:14-16 (NKJV)
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Hebrews 7:25-26 (NKJV)
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens.”
Notice the first passage says that our High Priest has passed through the heavens. The second passage says that our High Priest has become higher than the heavens. All the Christian’s associations are heavenly in their reality because Jesus is there, exalted above the heavens as the glorified Man. The union of the church with Christ is the union of the body with its glorified Head in heaven (I Cor. 12:12, Eph. 1:20-23). It is not a union with a Christ in the flesh on earth. His existence in that state ended when He died.
Romans 6:10 (NKJV)
“For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.”
All of Christianity is dependent on Jesus being raised from the dead in a new life and exalted above the heavens as the glorified Man. For the believer, there is no other Jesus than this. So Paul says, “Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” Why? Because now we only know Jesus as a new creation – He is the firstborn from among the dead (Col. 1:18, I Cor. 15:20, Rev. 1:5); He is the firstborn of God’s new creation; He is the firstborn among many brethren (Rom. 8:29).
Many of the realities of the believer’s redemption are dependent on what Christ is now and where Christ is now – He being the Man raised from the dead and glorified, and being exalted to the right hand of God. Most believers can understand the necessity that a Man needed to be the spotless sacrifice before God, if other men where to be redeemed. A Man had to suffer and die, being condemned by God. But if this was necessary, then we should also know it was the Son of Man who was raised from the dead. This Man, having glorified God by His obedience to the cross, has now, through resurrection, entered a new life, a new existence, a resurrected life (John 13:31-32). It was all done so we, in redemption, may have the same – a new life, a new existence, His resurrected life. But it didn’t end there. He was exalted and glorified higher than the heavens, and has sat down at the right hand of God. How can we not believe the Scriptures which tell us that believing in Him we will be glorified, conformed into the image of God’s Son, and taken by Him to the Father’s house in the heavens, where He has prepared a place for us? Is this not why the believer is told he has a heavenly calling? Is it not why we have a heavenly citizenship? We will not be blessed with every earthly blessing as the Jewish remnant will be restored in their land, but instead with every spiritual blessing in the heavens in Christ (Eph. 1:3). And as believers we have been given title to this – to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.
The church began on the day of Pentecost when individual believers – 120 in the upper room – were baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 12:12-13). This could not happen until Jesus sat down at the right hand of God. The Holy Spirit could not be sent down until Jesus went away (John 16:7). The believer could not be sealed by the Holy Spirit until Jesus was glorified (John 7:39, Eph. 1:13, Rom. 8:15-16, Gal. 4:6). In like manner, the body could not be formed in union with its Head until the Head was seated at the right hand of the throne of God in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power… It is then we see the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him, this resurrected and glorified Man (Eph. 1:20-23).
The point is this – Jesus is no longer on the cross. For the believer the greater importance is where is He today? In saying this I do not minimize the value of the cross. As an unbeliever there was only one possible pathway to acceptance by God – through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ. But now as believers we do not stay by the cross because Jesus did not stay on the cross. The believer was made alive together with Christ (Eph. 2:5); then the believer was raised up together with Him so to sit in heavenly places in Him (Eph. 2:6). All this goes well beyond the cross, without detracting from its value. But the believer’s relationship with God reflects from the position Christ went to in glory. Further, the state of the believer’s relationship with God is presently maintained in an ongoing spiritually healthy condition through the function of His present ministry – He is the Christian’s High Priest at the right hand of the throne of God. Doing what? Always making intercession for us, always washing our feet from the accumulated defilement of the world, as we walk down here as strangers and pilgrims (Heb. 7:25, Jn. 13). What is this for? His present day ministry maintains us in fellowship and communion with the Father and the Son.
Colossians 3:1-4 (NKJV)
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”
This passage also gives us certain truths concerning Christ and the believer associated with the throne of God in the present Christian dispensation. These verses tell us that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God, but that He is hidden. It also tells us the Christian is hidden with Him. But what does this mean? Scripture testifies that the believer, by the eye of faith, now sees Jesus crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9). It speaks of Him as He is now in heaven, during the Christian dispensation. Our life is hidden because He is our life and He is hidden. But if Jesus isn’t hidden from us, who is He hidden from? From the world that crucified and rejected Him. They do not see or perceive Jesus at all during this time of the Christian dispensation. But this situation will not go on much longer. He promised He would return to judge this world which utterly rejected Him (Heb. 10:12-13). And the above verse tells us, when He appears (to the world), we will appear with Him in glory. Of course this is the beginning of a new dispensation on the earth (the millennium). So as long as Jesus is sitting down at the right hand of God He is “hidden” from the world and it is the Christian dispensation. When He gets up from there He will “appear” to the world and it will begin the millennial dispensation. But now His glory is hidden from the world, and our portion during this dispensation is to suffer with Him, while we are left in this world (Rom. 8:18).
In review, the present Christian dispensation has the throne of God as a throne of grace. The dispensational revelation of God to those in Christ is in the name of Father. This is the name of God associated with Christianity and the Christian dispensation. This name implies God’s work in grace towards His sons. The throne, as a throne of grace, is our Father’s throne. This throne is thoroughly Christian in its character. It has had this character for nearly 2000 years, and will continue until the tribulation – the seven year period of time for transition between the last two dispensations. During the tribulation the throne reverts back to being a throne of God’s government of the earth as was seen in the Jewish dispensation. We again see lightnings and thunderings and voices as we did on Mt. Sinai (Rev. 4:5). Also in this chapter we see the use of the Jewish dispensational names by which God revealed Himself to Israel and their forefathers – Jehovah, Elohim, El-Shaddai (Rev. 4:8, Ex. 6:2-4). This is the governmental throne of the Lord God Almighty, only now, instead of being in the midst of Israel, it is in heaven. It now has connections with judgment of the earth and all creation – a rainbow was seen around the throne, the symbol of God’s alliance with creation made when there was no government of the earth before Noah. The tribulation is Jewish time (Jacob’s trouble – Jer. 30:7). God turns back to judge the world and destroy its evil, in order to reassert His government directly over it. The throne, as it appears in Revelation four (4), represents the character in which God will act after the removal of the true church from the earth – at that future time dealing again with the world in government and judgment.
In this transitional period we see that Satan will be removed from the heavens and cast down to the earth (Rev. 12:7-9). When this occurs he will know his time is short (Rev. 12:12-13) and he will give his earthly throne and power to the beast (Rev. 13:1-2). This beast rose up out of the sea and therefore represents a revived Roman-Gentile empire and head. Satan’s other instrument of evil is a beast coming up out of the earth – this beast is Jewish and has the appearance of a false Messiah (Rev. 13:11). This is the Antichrist who works on behalf of and in conjunction with the head over the first beast – the Caesar over the Roman Empire. These are the means by which Satan attempts to desperately hang on to his throne over the world. But during the seven years we see God’s judgment of the earth and of those who are dwellers on the earth. His judgments issue forth from His throne in the heavens – seals and trumpets and bowls of wrath poured out. These are preparatory judgments paving the way for heaven to open up and the King of kings to come forth on His white horse, destroying all the evil and binding Satan for a thousand years in the bottomless pit (Rev. 19:11-20:3). This is God Most High becoming the Possessor of heaven and earth (Gen. 14:19-20).
What then will be characteristic of the throne of God during the next dispensation, the millennium? Here we must understand what we are speaking of. During the future millennium Jesus will be physically present on the earth. The Scriptures speak of two thrones He will have in the millennial world: The Jewish throne of David, ruling over all Israel as the Messiah, son of David and King of the Jews, and the throne of the Son of Man ruling over all creation, things visible and invisible, as the King of kings and Lord of lords (Matt. 25:31, Isa. 9:6-7). But these earthly thrones represent the rule of the glorified Man. He certainly represents the Most High God as a royal priest on His throne (Gen. 14:18-20), but this representation is as a Man. “There is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.” (I Tim. 2:9). The millennium represents the last rule of man on the earth. Where the Jewish kings all failed, and the Gentile world powers all acted like wild beasts in doing their own wills, all during the previous ages, the second Adam comes in to make good in responsibility all the failure brought in by fallen man. This will be true concerning the principle of government of the earth which God instituted in Noah’s time. The millennium will be the government of the perfect Man.
All dispensations are a distinct economy of God given to man in which God shows His ways with men during that particular time or epoch. Dispensations are earthly in character and involve man or a group of men being responsible to God. The history of man’s responsibility, from Adam in the garden through the entire Jewish dispensation with Israel, and even that of Christendom, has seen the proven failure of man. Usually, and quite distinctly, the failure is at the beginning, and only then does the longsuffering and forbearance of God in showing mercy and grace allow the continuance of the dispensation. The future millennium will be the last dispensation. All the misery brought in by the one disobedience of the first man, and this more than just man’s responsibility in civil government, will be made good and God glorified, in Jesus Christ, the second Adam. Where man miserably failed in his responsibilities in all the previous dispensations, and this directly causing the failure of those dispensations, in the final one we see God will be glorified by man through the physical presence and rule of the glorified Son of Man.
But this is not the throne of God during the millennium. God’s throne will still be in the heavens. It is in the heavenly Jerusalem, the bride of the Lamb, the tabernacle of God – the church. During the millennium this city is above the earth for the purpose of pouring out God’s grace and blessing on the earth from above – where the Most High God still resides, and where His throne remains. The best passage of Scripture that describes these things is found in Revelation 21:9-22:5. It describes the perfection of the church as the bride of Christ and as the tabernacle of God containing the throne of God. It is the church in her heavenly character and clothed in divine glory, showing her connection with the millennial earth as now revealed. That connection is of grace – it is the main thing that characterizes the church, even now.
Revelation 22:1 (NKJV)
“And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
This river of life and grace is blessing coming down from above, coming down to the millennial earth from the throne of the Most High God. There are still thrones on the earth during the millennium, but this is the throne from which all millennial blessing will originate. On the earth and in Jerusalem Jesus will be the substance of the Melchizedek type, a kingly priest on His throne, representing the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth (Gen. 14:18-20).
P.S. This article speaks of many different privileges we have as Christians in Christ Jesus. Many believers love to point to the fact that we will reign with Christ over the millennial world (Rev. 2:26-27, 3:21, 5:10). While this is certainly true and part of the believer’s future hope, still it is the lower part of our privileges in Christ. The highest privilege we have, the one which should draw out in us our greatest affections, is to be eternally with Christ (I Thess. 4:17) and with God as our Father, in His presence in heaven. It is to be in the Father’s house (John 14:1-3), the proper place and privilege given by God to all His sons (Gal. 3:26, Matt. 5:9). It is seeing the very face of the invisible God as those privileged to be nearest Him (Matt. 5:8) – Moses was not allowed to see God’s face (Ex. 33:18-23); but all Christians, as the new creation of God in Christ, and glorified through the rapture of the church, will enter into God’s glory and see His face. It is man in Adam unredeemed, who falls short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). But the true believer is in Christ, the second Adam, and he is eternally redeemed by His shed blood and sacrifice. In the Spirit and by this blood, we now have the right to enter into the very presence of God (Heb. 10:19-22). Then, after the rapture, we physically enter into God’s glory and presence.