A chair is a very human thing, infact the whole shape of a chair reflects the human body. Despite the millions of varieties the chair has a fairly standard structure: legs, a seat, usually a back and sometimes arms.
In the lecture I went to yesterday we stopped to consider chairs and took this consideration further in looking briefly at thrones.
A throne is chair, a grand chair mind you, and yet carries with it some kind of symbolic influence.
There’s the whole kings thrones in reality, movie and theatre set. There’s the unspoken throne of a ‘man’s castle’ and hence his English wingback chair-throne as the head of the family.
A chair can oddly dictate a position of power. (And also strip the person of power if it happens to be something like a dentist chair).
I find it interesting that the Bible often speaks about the throne of God. Revelation 4 is set around the ‘throne’.
“At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.” (Rev 4:2-6)
A chair, a throne a ‘seat of power’ seems a very human concept. So is Revelation talking literally or figuratively? I never really know how to interpret Revelation. I usually avoid it to spare confusion. Pathetic but true.
After a discussion a few weeks back around the confusion about God appearing to ‘kill people’ in the Old Testament, I went home and read a big fat chunk of Revelation. I’m not sure why I went there, but it was startlingly relevant.
I don’t want to interpret the whole Bible figuratively as much as I don’t want to interpret the whole Bible literally. Who knows where to draw lines? Here, there. They intersect and overlap, we can only hope for those rare moments of insight.
Hit things home. Place them in the context of our lives, our minds, our will and lack of understanding. And hope we don’t give up reading and looking for them in the meantime.
It’s a funny thing, building a biblical framework without a distinct frame to put it in, but surely it’s the way it must be done.