SPECIAL TOPIC: REIGNING IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD
The concept of reigning with Christ is part of the larger theological category called "the Kingdom of God." This is a carryover from the OT concept of God as the true king of Israel (cf. 1 Sam. 8:7). He symbolically reigned (1 Sam. 8:7; 10:17-19) through a descendant from the tribe of Judah (cf. Gen. 49:10) and the family of Jesse (cf. 2 Samuel 7).
Jesus is the promised fulfillment of OT prophecy concerning the Messiah. He inaugurated the Kingdom of God with His incarnation at Bethlehem. The Kingdom of God became the central pillar of Jesus' preaching. The Kingdom had fully come in Him (cf. Matt. 10:7; 11:12; 12:28; Mark 1:15; Luke 10:9,11; 11:20; 16:16; 17:20-21).
However, the Kingdom was also future (eschatological). It was present but not consummated (cf. Matt. 6:10; 8:11; 16:28; 22:1-14; 26:29; Luke 9:27; 11:2; 13:29; 14:10-24; 22:16,18). Jesus came the first time as a suffering servant (cf. Isa. 52:13-53:12); as humble (cf. Zech. 9:9), but He will return as King of Kings (cf. Matt. 2:2; 21:5; 27:11-14). The concept of "reigning" is surely a part of this "kingdom" theology. God has given the kingdom to Jesus' followers (see Luke 12:32).
The concept of reigning with Christ has several aspects and questions.
1. Do the passages which assert that God has given believers "the kingdom" through Christ refer to "reigning" (cf. Matt. 5:3,10; Luke 12:32)?
2. Do Jesus' words to the original disciples in the first century Jewish context refer to all believers (cf. Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30)?
3. Does Paul's emphasis on reigning in this life now contrast or complement the above texts (cf. Rom. 5:17; 1 Cor. 4:8)?
4. How are suffering and reigning related (cf. Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:11-12; 1 Pet. 4:13; Rev. 1:9)?
5. The recurrent theme of Revelation is sharing the glorified Christ's reign, but is that reign
a. earthly, Rev. 5:10
b. millennial, Rev. 20:4-6
c. eternal, Rev. 2:26; 3:21; 22:5 and Dan. 7:14,18,27
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