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What does it mean that heaven is God’s throne (Matthew 5:34)?

heaven is God’s throne

In Matthew 5:34, as part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus cautions His disciples against swearing oaths “by heaven, for it is God’s throne.” This segment of Jesus’ teachings underscores the significance of displaying integrity without resorting to oaths to prove our honesty, particularly when individuals attempt to swear by heaven, earth, or any other part of creation, as though it evaded swearing by God. Our central verse reveals that we shouldn’t swear an oath by heaven because it is God’s throne.

Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:34 are reminiscent of Isaiah 66:1, where God declares, “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool.” A throne symbolizes a monarch’s seat of power and authority from which he governs. Therefore, God’s throne serves as a symbol of His authority and power, indicating that God reigns supreme over all creation. The fact that His throne is in heaven, above everyone, emphasizes His transcendence. The use of the word throne here is symbolic. In this way, God describes His attribute as the Sovereign King in terms that humans can grasp.

In addition to heaven being God’s throne, the earth serves as His footstool (Matthew 5:35). Taken together, this imagery underscores that everything is under God and exists for His glory. When it comes to swearing, we mustn’t mistakenly assume that swearing on God’s creation differs from swearing in God’s name. Heaven, earth, and everything within belong to God.

The concept of God seated on a throne is foundational to our worldview. If we reject the existence of God, then reality appears random, morality becomes a human invention, and life’s purpose is limited to our mere existence on earth. As the hip-hop artist Lecrae raps, “If ain’t no God what’s the point of each day? What’s the purpose of us waking up? We just some cells on a cellphone? Just a bunch of atoms hanging in the attic? Just some molecules in the mailroom?” (“Nothing Left to Hide,” 2020). However, if we accept that there is a God who rules over us as posited in the Bible, then there is an objective right and wrong as well a purpose for existing. When we do God’s will, we are aligned with what is right, but when we deviate from His path to pursue our own desires, we have rejected God and sinned. Regrettably, humanity, beginning with Adam, has consistently turned away from God, choosing to indulge our corrupt nature and play the role of our own gods.

The good news is that God descended from His heavenly throne to pardon our sin. He did this through the person of Jesus, and because of Him, we can approach God’s throne to seek mercy and grace (Hebrews 4:16). We can be “giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified [us] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light” (Colossians 1:12).

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What does it mean that heaven is God’s throne (Matthew 5:34)?
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This page last updated: December 11, 2023