Creation 2.0: Kings of the World

(Gen 1:26-27 NAS) 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in  Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of  the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all  the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  27  God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him;  male and female He created them.

(Gen 1:28 ESV) And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:28 ESV)

The word translated “rule” and “have dominion” is radah, and it’s the word used for the rule of king or of a nation over another. 

The Genesis account is echoed in the Psalms –

(Psa 8:3-9 ESV) 3 When I look at your heavens, the work  of your fingers,  the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,  4  what is man  that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you  care for him?  5  Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly  beings and  crowned him with glory and honor.  6 You have given him  dominion over  the works of your hands; you have put all things under  his feet,  7 all  sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,  8  the birds of the  heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes  along the paths of the  seas.  9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your  name in all the earth!

The Psalmist sees us as already having dominion over the creation. The word translated “have dominion” (mashal) here is also used of God’s reign (1 Chr 29:12).

(Dan 7:1 ESV) 18 But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’

(Dan 7:21-22 ESV)  21 As I looked, this horn made war  with the saints  and prevailed over them,  22 until the Ancient of Days  came, and  judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the  time came  when the saints possessed the kingdom.

(Dan 7:1 ESV) 27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the  greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the  people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an  everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.’

Daniel is not easily interpreted, but there’s clearly the idea here that the saints will possess a kingdom and that all others will serve and obey them. In those days, kings were judges — the supreme court of the land — and so giving judgment to the saints puts them in the place of kings. It’s hard not to read this as a prediction of the rule of  God’s saints.

“And he lives forever with his saints to reign …”

(Rom 5:17 ESV)  17 For if, because of one man’s trespass,  death reigned  through that one man, much more will those who receive  the abundance of  grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in  life through the one man Jesus Christ.

(1Co 6:2-3 ESV)  2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the  world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are  you incompetent to  try trivial cases?  3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How  much more, then, matters pertaining to this  life!

(Eph 2:4-7 ESV)  4 But God, being rich in mercy, because  of the great  love with which he loved us,  5 even when we were dead in  our  trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have  been  saved — 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in  the  heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the coming ages  he might  show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward  us in  Christ Jesus.

(2Ti 2:11-13 ESV)  11 The saying is trustworthy, for: If  we have died  with him, we will also live with him;  12 if we endure, we  will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;   13 if we are  faithless, he remains faithful– for he cannot deny  himself.

(Rev 5:9-10 ESV)  And they sang a new song, saying,  “Worthy are you  to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were  slain, and by  your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe  and language and  people and nation,  10 and you have made them a  kingdom and priests to  our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

(Rev 22:3-5 ESV) 3 No longer will there be anything  accursed, but the  throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his  servants will  worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will  be on their  foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no  light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign  forever and ever.

Most of these passages speak of our becoming kings in the future, but Rom 5:17 and Eph 2:6 seem to speak of a present reign. However, both passages speak of our reigning either “through” or “with” Jesus. You  see, we are part of Jesus — being his body and having been baptized  into him.

I don’t claim to fully understand this, but this idea is at least partly that because we are in Jesus, like Jesus, we reign. We don’t  reign independently of Jesus, but our being in Jesus makes us royalty and kings.

1 Cor 6 has puzzled many, because Paul declares that we will be  judges — when we typically think in terms of having to face the  Judgment. But in those days, there was no separation of powers. The king  was also the supreme court. Paul’s final appeal was to Caesar — not the Roman supreme court, and Solomon was famous for his wise decisions  as a judge.

Therefore, if we are or will be kings, we will also be judges.  Interesting …

We are kings who serve, sacrifice, bring peace, and judge. But we don’t seize authority or kingship. Rather, our authority comes from our  service and submission. It’s an upside-down kind of kingship — a  kingship not yet fully realized but yet sure.

You see, like Jesus, we are cruciform kings — filled with the Spirit because it takes God’s help to be that kind of King.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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7 Responses to Creation 2.0: Kings of the World

  1. John says:

    Jay said “…our authority comes from our service and submission. It’s an upside-down kind of kingship”. Good words.

    Indeed, we reign like Jesus; and where do we find him? In the Gospels. No doubt the “rule” and “dominion” verses thoughout the OT and NT are grand and inspiring. But the humility that makes them work, the humility that reminds us that it is not about us but about the lives we touch,comes from focusing on the life that shows us how to die to live. He is the one who withdrew when those he had compassion for tried to make him king. He ruled by saying “no”.

  2. John says:

    Just a note on my comment above. When much of the Christian world think of Jesus’ life they think of him as being on “divine automatic power”. I think that is the reason many are not in awe of his life and do not find power in the gospels that they find in the epistles.

    But when he touched the diseased he touched them as a human being. When he prayed in the garden, he was in agony. When he asked God while on the cross why he was forsaken, he felt forsaken. And when he said “no” to being king he not only said “no: to his disciples, he also said “no” to himself.

  3. laymond says:

    I fully agree John, Jesus never ever accepted the kingship because that would mean he was higher than his Father, and I can not recall a time when Jesus said such a thing. Jesus always gave God all the Glory, which he did, and does deserve.

  4. laymond says:

    There is no room for but one King over any Kingdom. We cannot be “God’s Kingdom” if there is a “Trinity” ruling. “thy kingdon come, thy will be done”

  5. Laymond, no authority can delegate an authority higher than his own. Israel could not give Jesus a higher place than the Father. (That would be giving something you don’t have.) This issue about “one King, one kingdom” is simply another instance of our limited understanding of the oneness of God. I suppose this could deteriorate into yet another Trinity debate, but I hope not.

  6. David Brent says:

    I noticed that you included the scriptures that talk about God the image maker. I thought I would make a few more comments about icons from what I have learned studying Orthodoxy.

    Icons are images that point to the Truth. And everything that God has made . . . that he called “good” . . . is an image . . . an icon . . . that gives us a glimpse of the Truth.
    (Gen 1:26-27 NAS) 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” When we look closely at our neighbors we see a glimpse of God . . . His image. To the Orthodox, Mankind is icon.

    All of creation is an icon pointing to the Truth. Paul makes reference to this in Romans 1: 19-20 (ESV) “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.” To the Orthodox, the earth is icon.

    You included the following in your post:
    It is the Orthodox doctrine that one can understand and appreciate what it means to be human only in the light of the full revelation of Jesus Christ. Being the Divine Word and Son of God in human flesh, Jesus reveals the real meaning of manhood. As the Perfect Man and the Last Adam, the “man from heaven,” Jesus gives us the proper interpretation of the story of creation given in the book of Genesis. For as the Apostle Paul has written, Adam finds his significance as “the type (or figure) of the one who was to come,” namely Jesus Christ (Rom 5:14). In other words . . . Jesus, the Christ, is the uncreated Image of God. To the Orthodox, Jesus is icon!

    Mankind is an icon.
    The created world is an icon.
    Jesus the uncreated is The ICON.

  7. Monty says:

    “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”, Jesus told his disciples. We as Christians are to let our light shine to the world that they may see our good deeds and glorify the Father in heaven. See us(our works) and see our rabbi? Our light is a reflection of the light of God, or light eminating from inside of us. It’s what’s inside of us that comes out. Our ever increasing glory!

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