Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Rev. 1:5b-6)
Just focus on the first part of that verse: He hath made us kings. Revelation 5:10 adds, and we shall reign on the earth. How can that be? To the servant whose pound hath gained 10 pounds, Jesus said Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. What does this look like now, or in eternity, where they shall reign for ever and ever?
Apprehend, yes; comprehend, scarcely. Physically this must be in the new earth, not only because scriptures teach of such a realm, but because we see the righteous in great disfavor among our worldly counterparts in the past and present. I know not of any society – even as religious as the Jews – who with great and unanimous accord held up an average sinner saved by grace and said, be thou our ruler. Yet our God has done (past tense, not 'will do') this for you, His elect.
We struggle not with His divine prerogative so to do, nor question the wisdom of His choice. We cry out as young Solomon, who said "And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king ... and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?"
Should we like Solomon seek wisdom for this role? For those who live on the East Coast, in the capital region, the national news is the local news, and much of it is bad news. Perhaps one right response is to learn from all of the failed efforts we see around us, knowing we should not repeat such later. But wait, will we have any memory of this? Isaiah says behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. How then are we to prepare?
And over whom shall we rule? We will be surrounded by His elect, all of whom are kings. Shall there be procreation, and we rule over each his own family? Jesus said they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. There isn't marriage in the afterlife, for we shall be like unto angels. Alas, the earthly shadows of this life are too dim to cast any insightful light through the pearly gates of heaven.
Those espousing the critical text point to their corrupt Alexandrian manuscript, where Rev. 1:6 reads, "and hath made us a kingdom of priests." Yes, it ties nicely to Exod. 19:6, which says as much, but comparing scripture to a corrupt manuscript is poor exegesis. Paul says if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise; to whom God promised that kings shall come out of thee. Concerning our present spiritual reign, in 1809 Dr. John Gill wrote these excellent insights in his commentary:
"... the words are used in a higher and greater sense. The saints are made 'kings' by Christ; they are so now; they have received a kingdom of grace, which cannot be taken away; and they have the power of kings over sin, Satan, and the world, and all their enemies; and they live and fare like kings, and are clothed like them, in rich apparel, the righteousness of Christ; and are attended as kings, angels being their lifeguards; and they will appear much more so hereafter, when they shall reign on earth with Christ [and] shall sit upon the same throne, and have a crown of life and righteousness given them, and at last be introduced into the kingdom of glory. And they become such by being the sons of God, which power and privilege they receive from Christ, and so are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Him, and by being united to Him. And He also makes them 'priests' to offer up the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise, and those of a broken heart, and of a contrite spirit, and even their souls and bodies, as a holy, living, and acceptable sacrifice unto God, by anointing and sanctifying them by His Spirit: and they are made such by Him."
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