Monuments in Heaven

This story reminds me of a thought that occurred while singing a hymn on Sunday: will #woke Christians let David’s throne stand in the new heavens and new earth? (The story is about the toppling of a Confederate monument, Silent Sam, at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.)

“Jerusalem the Golden”‘s third stanza in the old Trinity Hymnal goes like this:

There is the throne of David;
And there, from care released,
The song of them that triumph,
The shout of them that feast;
And they who with their Leader
Have conquered in the fight,
For ever and for ever
Are clad in robes of white.

So we may have a throne that commemorates an adulterer, a man who plotted the death of his lover’s husband, and a king who could not manage his own household. Not to mention that he purged the holy land of pagan dwellers. Yes, the Lord commanded it but in these times of social righteousness, such aggression is not just macro but cosmic.

Even so, Bernard of Cluny and John Mason Neale seemed to think Christians could draw comfort and inspiration from the thought of a throne in the new Jerusalem that commemorated the very flawed King David. Which makes you wonder if the pursuit of righteousness here (by some Christians) is going to be sufficient preparation for the righteousness to come.

8 thoughts on “Monuments in Heaven

  1. David is one thing, what about Joab?

    The OT is full of complicated figures (to put it nicely). I wonder if Christians in the past were better able to learn from these people than we are today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What’s next? Historial revisionism telling us that UNC didn’t win those championships because they cheated?

    Even though Abraham had TWO sons, and Ishmael was a circumcised child of the covenant, you must never ever forget to associate all that is not above an/or real with Moses, and not with Abraham. Even though Abraham owned slaves, slavery has nothing to do with Abraham but only with Moses.

    For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave and the other by a free woman…. the two women represent the two covenants. Mount Sinai was an administration (a subset) of the covenant of grace. Because there are only TWO covenants, and the Mosaic administration belongs to BOTH covenants, including the covenant of works given before there was any need of grace. But in any case, the old covenant was never in any way associated with Abraham or slavery.

    Because there is only one gospel, there is only the one covenant of grace, and the one covenant of grace has nothing to do with two sons of Abraham, because the covenant of grace is not about Ishmael or Isaac but about Christ the son of David. So when we are talking about Old School Reformers stepping in to assist the Magistrates against the lawlessness of iconoclasts and abolitionists, we are not talking about the gospel but only about law, and really only about the second table of the law.

    So when we suggest that “throne of David” is not merely a reference to Christ’s reign but also ceremonial furniture in a monumental heaven which is not on earth, we are not really talking about the gospel or about the church. We are only using the future to say that there’s no need to change the present, because if you try to conserve some of the present, that’s not “all of life worship”, but only your day job. But anybody who is trying to change the present is confusing their secular job and politics with the gospel and the worship of Christ.

    Those social gospel people have a ‘worldview”. But opposition to their worldview is not a worldview. Opposition to freeing slaves or taking down icons is only about keeping the boundary between gospel and social gospel. For the sake of the gospel, the solution is not to revise anything on earth yet, not even the history.

    To say that we have already come “instead” to Mount Zion ( the city of the living God ,the heavenly Jerusalem) would be premature and triumphalistic, because we need to remember that for now we still have TWO cities. To avoid a theology of glory, what we all need to do is to keep saying that our city on earth is not legislated to us by the church or even by Christ. Trying to change in anyway our city on earth is inherently to imply that what we want changed is our gospel. The death penalty and the war for democracy with Russia must go on.

    Revelation 21:10 He showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming DOWN OUT OF HEAVEN from God,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is somewhat tangential to this post, but I thought I’d throw it up here.

    Ever notice that liberals play dumb with originialism when it comes to the constitution (or the Bible, if we’re talking about theological liberalism)? Yet, with something as trivial as a confederate statue they’ll start preaching originialism with more fervency than the late Justice Scalia. They argue that the context surrounding these statues (plans for construction, dedication ceremonies, and the general state of society at the time) somehow govern and limit how I as a 21st century American see and interpret these statues.

    With all this originialism floating around, maybe Kavenaugh has a chance of getting confirmed after all?


  4. Calvin—“It is mere infatuation to attempt to defend images of God and the saints by the example of the Cherubim” Book I, Chapter 11
    Calvin— “it is obvious, that the defenders of images resort to a paltry quibbling evasion, when they pretend that the Jews were forbidden to use them on account of their proneness to superstition; as if a prohibition which the Lord founds on his own eternal essences and the uniform course of nature, could be restricted to a single nation.”, Book I, Chapter

    The Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland is an enormous stone monument with engraved with the four figures of Calvin, Beza, Farel, and Knox

    Robert E Lee died in his bed, unlike Stonewall Jackson….or John Huss….

    “René Girard taught us that when communities enter into crisis, people typically commence desperately to cast about for someone to blame. In the catharsis of this indiscriminate accusation, they find a kind of release, an ersatz peace. “All the bishops should resign!” “The priesthood is a cesspool of immorality!” “The seminaries are all corrupt!” As I say, these assertions might be emotionally satisfying at some level, but they are deeply unjust and conduce toward greater and not less dysfunction ….The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has no juridical or canonical authority to discipline bishops. And even if it tried to launch an investigation, it has, at the moment, very little credibility. Only the Pope has juridical and disciplinary powers in regard to bishops …”

    “Padre Pio famously called the Rosary the weapon for our times….With that in mind, it seems reasonable that the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, prayed and meditated upon with specific reference to this apocalypse of filth within our Church, among our clergy, can be a weapon deployed daily, inviting in the assistance of the saints and, most importantly Our Lady — Mary, the Mother of Sorrows — who will implore her Son for our sake as she prays with us.”


  5. Perhaps commemorating a flawed hero like King David helps us acknowledge our own faults and that our righteousness comes from Christ alone.


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