COMMITMENT

Leaders in God's Kingdom

We know the book of Revelation as a prophetic document. It is! It has been written with the clear purpose to reveal things that will happen shortly, but as in the book of Daniel, there are prophetic parts and also spiritual insights. It is the

revelation of Jesus Christ. In addition to addressing prophetic issues, it also

speaks about mission, the destiny of mankind and the person of Jesus Christ.

Another important

topic in this book is human vocation. The book has many verses that deal with

this subject. We will look at some issues related to anthropological and

sociological concepts.



By creating us in His own image, He is expressing His purpose for us, which is to be like Him.

God’s Radical Calls in Revelation

From the beginning,

God gave a specific call to man. We read in Gen. 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image,

according to Our likeness….” By creating us in His own image, He is expressing

His purpose for us, which is to be like Him. In the same context, He gives man

the responsibility of having “dominion” or governance

over creation by ministering to it and acting as His stewards of

it. In Gen 2:15 we read that God asks Adam and Eve to “keep” or take

care of the garden. This verb “to keep or oversee” is used throughout the Bible

as a sign of our responsibility.



Centuries later,

through Moses, God called his people to be a “kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6). We find the same call in a prophetic messianic

context, in Is. 61:6, “But you shall be named priests of the Lord, they

shall call you ministers.” In the New Testament it appears even more frequently

than it does in the Old Testament. Jesus calls his followers to be His

disciples and apostles—two nouns with similar but not identical meanings. Paul

pens that we are “ambassadors for Christ” (1 Cor. 5:20) and “God’s

administrators” (1 Cor. 4:1). Peter gives emphasis to God’s calling of the

believers, clearly stating that everyone born again in Jesus is a priest in His

kingdom (1 Cor. 2:5, 9).



However, more than

in any other book, Revelation emphasizes specific names for God’s believers. He

uses the term “angels” in Rev 2:18-29 in the message to the church of Thyatira.

John first addresses “the angel” of this church but then continues and writes

“to the rest in Thyatira” (v. 24). He clearly addresses the whole community as

“angels.”



Thus, in the book of Revelation, we have a great list of names for the believers: angels, prophets, servants, saints, priests and kings.

In the same way,

the three angels of Rev. 14 are committed to preach the final message to the

world—to every tribe, tongue, nation and people. We believe that these three

angels represent the “remnant” of God’s people on earth. In Rev. 22:9, we read

the admonition of the angel to John, who, having seen the great vision, is

ready to fall down on his knees and worship the angel. The angel says, “I am a

fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets.” So the angel states

clearly that we are also “prophets” of the Lord. This same call is seen in Rev.

11:18, “The time has comes to give their reward to thy servants, to the

prophets, and to the saints, and to them that fear thy name.” Two more names

are identified: “servants” and “saints.”



Finally, we have

the names “kings and priests” (Rev. 1:6; 5:10 and 20:6). The use of these names

is a continuation of their usage in the Old Testament but also as used in 1

Peter 2:4, 5 and 9.



Thus, in the

book of Revelation, we have a great list of names for the believers: angels,

prophets, servants, saints, priests and kings.



Kings and Priests

Let’s concentrate

for a moment on ‟priests and kings.” Revelation continues in the same way and

tells that this is the great call for all believers—from the Trinity itself (Rev. 1:4, 5). Twice we read: “He has made

us priests and kings” (Rev. 1:6 and 5:10). The word “made” in Rev. 14:7

describes the creative power of God. The creation is the result of His

omnipotent power. With the same power, He makes us priests and kings.



Even if Revelation

starts with greetings from the Trinity, Jesus is the one who acts. He saves us by his blood and makes us kings

and priests through His power.



What a message this

is! While giving His life for our salvation, Jesus, also made us priests and

kings. The divine plan doesn’t end with our

forgiveness, salvation, justification and redemption. It continues by Jesus

acting to recreate us in His image

and restoring our identity and mission by making us priests and kings. Jesus

the Creator, the Savior and the Redeemer is the same One who re-creates priests

and kings: i.e. stewards!



The divine plan doesn’t end with our forgiveness, salvation, justification and redemption. It continues by Jesus acting to recreate us in His image and restoring our identity and mission by making us priests and kings. Jesus the Creator, the Savior and the Redeemer is the same One who re-creates priests and kings: i.e. stewards!

Dignity and Responsibility in Revelation

What has been said,

has great and meaningful implications for us. In God’s eyes, every human being

has great value. As He created us in His own image, we are distinct from all

the rest of creation. There is a substantial and existential dissimilarity.

From the beginning, even before creation, His great vision for mankind was for

them to be in His own image, in governance over His creation and partners in

the administration of His creation.



We know that

something happened in human history that destroyed this plan. Someone acted in

evil to erase God’s image in man. We know the devil’s malefic purpose: he

created divisions, (even between God and man), slavery to evil and submission

of one man to another, and male over female. He produced discrimination and

homicide. He killed our identity, dignity and life. Men became arrogant and

proud, believing that they have the right to dominate others. Some elevated

themselves as gods and reserved for themselves the control of people’s bodies

and minds.

This is not the end

of the story. In God’s original plan, man had the right to have direct access

to God—to be in relationship with Him

without mediation and with no need of propitiation. In time, a priestly

clergy rose to the role of mediation between God and man. A clerical priesthood

was interposed between God and man.



Now, with

Jesus, we all have free access to God’s Temple (Rev. 7:15), and are able

to re-establish a good relational

connection with Him.



As through Moses,

so it is through Jesus: “… you will be for me a kingdom of priests.” Luke 4

states that, Jesus reaffirmed this divine project by reading Isaiah 61 during

His very

first Sabbath in ministry. God performs a great

deliverance and gives back our dignity, identity and mission.



In the book of

Revelation, we find that Jesus provides salvation and commitment (Rev. 1: 5, 6;

5: 9, 10). Just after reading that He made us to be kings and priests for His

Father (Rev. 1:5, 6), we see Jesus presented as our High Priest (Rev.

1:12-18). We understand this text

in the following way: Through His death and resurrection, He became our High

Priest and King, and through Him, His God and Father has become our God and

Father, and now we can address Him as “Our Father.” Now we can serve Him as His

kings and priests.



God performs a great deliverance and gives back our dignity, identity and mission.

Now

We Are Kings and Priests…

See what great love

the Father has given us in naming us the children of God; … and at present it

is not clear what we are to be. We are certain that at his revelation we will

be like him… (1 Jn. 3:1, 2).



He came to bring

the Kingdom, (Mat. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7), to re-establish the original plan and

recreate us in His own image. As it was at the beginning, (Gen 1:26-28), the

same Creator and Savior wants to give us this renewed (reclaimed) identity.



Paul penned that

through Him we are new creatures (2 Co 5:17), enabling us to become like

God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph. 4:20-24). In Jesus we have a new

starting point, a new beginning, a new possibility to be ministers/stewards in

His Kingdom. We become ministers of His

grace, His love, His mission, to His creation!



This is only the

beginning. The growth towards all of this has just begun, and we have the

possibility and the right to grow (Eph. 4:15). Not only this, but “When He

appears, we shall be like Him,” His kings, priests and stewards. We will live

and rule with Christ,” forever! (Rev. 20:4).



Conclusion

We become ministers of His grace, His love, His mission, to His creation!

In the light of

this great truth of the Bible, a theme that starts in Genesis, and moves

through the entire story of salvation, until Revelation, and into eternity, we

see this specific divine call unfolding like a continuous “crescendo.” We see

mankind created in His likeness at the beginning, and who, since since the

fall, are progressively regaining their freedom, their identity, their dignity,

and their responsibility as stewards, in Christ.



This “crescendo,”

states the book of Revelation, will continue until the day the saved will sit

on the throne with God, playing their role as judges of the Universe (Rev. 20:

4- 6).



We must start

now to grow in understanding, and experiencing this identity.
It must start by growing in our understanding of God's plan, living out the dimension

of being a steward day by day, i.e. becoming priests and kings of God.

Paolo Benini
Paolo Benini is the director for the Personal Ministries/Sabbath

School, Global Mission and Stewardship Ministries departments of the

Inter-European Division. For 31 years he worked in the Italian Union as pastor,

departmental director, field president and Union President. For 10 years he was

a guest teacher in biblical doctrines at Villa Aurora University in Florence,

Italy. He loves cycling in the open air and fixing old bicycles and, whenever

possible, he makes his own special homemade “Ezekiel” bread. He is married to

Angela Lazzara and has two sons, Samuele and Gianluca, and one daughter,

Annalisa. He is also the proud grandfather of precious grand daughter, Mila.

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